Warsaw Common Council President Diane Quance used to have to take allergy pills before council meetings, the black mold in the old city hall building was so bad.
That won’t be necessary in the shiny, new, spacious city council chambers that was introduced to the public today during an open house at the new city hall at 102 S. Buffalo St. City offices moved into the building in December, and amidst fanfare and speeches, Mayor Joe Thallemer officially declared the two-year, $2.1 million dollar transition complete this morning.
The move from 302 E. Market St. to the corner of Detroit and Buffalo, three blocks away, places city offices in direct view of the Kosciusko County Courthouse and the county Justice Building, facilitating government business for residents and staff alike. From a development standpoint, the move also presents a better image of the city and contributes to a vital downtown.
In 2002, a national consulting firm suggested that in the interest of downtown revitalizationi the city should look at moving its offices. Various options were being pursued when, in 2010, Jay Maish, owner of the former National City Bank building, approached then-mayor Ernie Wiggins with an offer to sell. Calculations indicated that renovating the bank space would be more cost-effective than if the city tried to construct a new facility.
Work began on the historic building in 2011 and included motion-sensing LED lights and a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system. City offices moved in to the first two floors in late 2012.
An office of the Warsaw Police Department is located in the building, and the city planning offices have been brought under the same roof as well.
“This is a building that will anchor the downtown for hopefully another hundred years,” Thallemer said during opening remarks at this morning’s celebration. Dozens of individuals involved with the renovations, city employees, council members, Maish family members and elected officials attended the ribbon-cutting and open house.
The Warsaw Redevelopment Commission recently approved an agreement under which OrthoWorx, a nonprofit orthopedic industry initiative, will occupy the third floor of the building. The organization will contribute to the restoration, retaining the building’s historic character. Estimated completion date is at the end of 2013, and OrthoWorx’s occupancy will complete the building’s restoration.