New City Hall Project Officially Underway
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The future looks bright for Twin Falls.
That was the general theme of the State of the City address given this afternoon by Mayor Shawn Barigar during a luncheon co-hosted by the city and Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
Tables and chairs were set up for the event inside what until today has been known as the Banner building in downtown. After the luncheon, the mayor and city officials participated in a ceremonial wall-breaking that kicked off the repurposing of the furniture building, which has sat empty for the past five years, into a modern City Hall.
Around 200 community members attended the event, some dressed in blue jeans and work shoes to participate in the wall-breaking ceremony.
Barigar talked not only about the future City Hall but other issues the city is addressing, such as looking at more rider-friendly bicycle routes, public transportation options, further connectivity of the Canyon Rim Trail, and the expansion of Magic Valley Regional Airport that started on April 5.
City Manager Travis Rothweiler also addressed the Tuesday crowd, acknowledging city staff members who over the years have helped in a number of ways to get the city to where it is now.
“You don’t get to where you’re going by doing it alone,” he said.
The new $9.5 million Twin Falls City Hall, paid for by cash reserves and located in the former Banner Furniture store that closed in late 2010, will accommodate the growing needs of the city for the next 40 to 50 years, Rothweiler said.
While under construction, city offices will be relocated to 103 Main Ave. E. so the city can also revamp the current City Hall and Police Department into a Public Safety Complex. Both projects are expected to be finished in summer 2017.
Also, the Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency will soon begin the process of redesigning Main Avenue from Fairfield Street to Idaho Street, giving the downtown area a more modern appearance. Rothweiler said the Public Safety Complex will better serve the community, while the new 42,000 square-foot City Hall will allow the city to “become better connected” to the downtown area.
Before the city decided to repurpose the Banner building, it formed a citizens committee that explored two other options: the old St. Luke’s clinic off Shoshone Avenue, and constructing a brand new building.
The committee voted 17-5 in favor of the Banner building because it was most economical for the city, and because of its proximity downtown and the larger Renaissance project.
Cost for the new City Hall and Public Safety Complex is around $8.57 million, supplied from the city's cash reserves. An additional $926,000 from impact fees will help fund the Safety Complex.
The city has waited a long time for this day. On Wednesday it will see additional work begin as crews start the abatement process, said Brian Coleman of Hummel Architects, the company designing the future City Hall.
“It’s pretty sound structurally,” he said in an interview before the ceremony, “but there are some challenges. Everything will come out. It will pretty much be a brand new building.”
Councilman Chris Talkington told the audience that Twin Falls is experiencing exciting times with its growth and many new changes, and upgrading and modernizing the city will continue to make it relevant.
“Let’s not take our eyes off the prize,” he said. “Twin Falls is a quality place to live.”