As construction on the new City Hall complex ramps up, Zephyrhills city staff will shuffle operations to a familiar building.
Beginning this summer, most city departments will relocate temporarily into the former Zephyrhills police station, at 5344 Ninth St.
City council members approved a 12-month lease agreement between the city and Dannie Jordan, of RTD Construction. It calls for the city to pay $4,000 per month for use of the 5,200-square-foot building, from June 1 to May 1.
The city also has an exclusive option to extend the contract month-to-month for up to six months.
Council members took the action on March 13, during a regularly scheduled meeting.
Once the staff has moved, the existing City Hall, at 5335 Eighth St, will be demolished to make way for construction of a new $6.2 million complex.
The plan, which was approved in January, calls for a two-story building of 19,615 square feet, situated between the city’s public library and fire department on Eighth Street.
With a modern stone and brick exterior, the new City Hall follows an architectural template similar to the Zephyrhills Public Library.
Compared to the current City Hall, the complex’s interior will be equipped with more open workspaces and multifunctional meeting rooms.
Meanwhile, the former police station will accommodate most city departments, as construction is ongoing.
However, two departments — Planning and Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) — will set up shop in the Jeffries House, at 38537 Fifth Ave.
City Manager Steve Spina said the old police station is move-in ready, and has lines already pre-wired for city-owned computers and phones.
“The building will be a perfect fit for us in terms of a relocation site during the construction of the new city hall,” Spina said.
Only a few minor changes are needed, such as widening a window for customers to access the City Clerk’s office, Spina said.
Besides ample workspace, the old police quarters should result in some cost savings for the city, which originally budgeted $120,000 for a relocation site.
In other related action, the city council approved the purchase of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapter building, at 5325 Eighth St.
The agreement calls for the city to pay the chapter $55,000 net, plus minimal closing costs.
The .16-acre property, appraised at $71,200, sits on two lots measuring 50 feet-by-140 feet.
In November, the council authorized obtaining an appraisal to determine the value of the property after DAV Chapter 65 announced it was shutting operations.
The now-vacant property — adjacent to the current City Hall along Sixth Avenue — includes a 924-square-foot main building, a 450-square-foot aluminum storage building and a 335-square-foot concrete block building.
The main DAV building was slated to provide temporary office space for the city’s Building Department, but an inspection unveiled various facility issues, including roof leakages.
The building instead will be torn down to make way for additional parking and sidewalks along Sixth Avenue.
The property, moreover, encompasses the city’s vision of a courtyard plaza and walkway, linking the new City Hall and the city’s public library, and fire department on Eighth Street.
“We’re buying it for the big picture,” Spina said last month. “Part of the appeal of the area is it would be a government complex.”
Published March 22, 2017