The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 7, 2013

New City Hall almost a reality

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

---- — CAMANCHE — With the completion of a property appraisal, the Camanche City Council is one step closer to finalizing a deal on the purchase of a new City Hall.

Only two steps remain before the city can work on a real estate closing agreement with seller Bob Richeson and the former pharmacy building becomes property of the city of Camanche.

"I would guess a couple weeks," said city administrator Tom Roth in regards to a timeline for the property. "(Probably) a month or less and it's ours."

The city council approved an offer on the property at an Oct. 15 meeting for $175,000, pending an appraisal. Now, that the appraisal for the building and property has come back for $190,000, the council is feeling confident with their decision to approve the purchase.

The next step for the council is to wait for an updated abstract from property owner Richeson before a title opinion from city attorney Tom Lonergan can be prepared to move forward with the real estate closing.

"The abstract is the record of the property of any actions taken since the last time it was updated. What you're ultimately trying to do, is ensure that you're getting what you expected from the property," Roth said. "After the abstract is updated, Tom will come back to the city with an opinion that says the property is free and clear."

Once that happens, the city council will then look at open-floor plans presented by Bruce Harding, an architect with Shive-Hattery, and decide how they want to approach the design of the new City Hall.

In the months of discussion concerning the new location, the cost of the project has been the biggest issue the council has faced. Now, that an offer has been made, costs of the renovation are on the forefront of the council's mind.

In an attempt to save the city as much money as possible, Roth suggested the council entertain the idea of handling the demolition of the interior of the building themselves.

"One of the things I asked Bruce was whether we could save some money by kind of gutting the building ourselves," Roth said. "It's not really complicated, it's clear span and most of the stuff that's in there is not structural. So, possibly this winter we can go in there and get a roll off container and save some money by doing some of the demo ourselves."

If the council decides to handle the demolition themselves, that would save more money to be used for the design of the building, something the council is beginning to look into.

"I'll be glad to see how much room we have when you first come in," Councilwoman Linda Kramer said. "Because, security is an issue anymore we all know that, so that needs to be really looked at."

Roth estimates the cost of renovation to be roughly around $120,000, according to conversations he's had with Harding, but is expecting to get a more specific number sometime in the next week.