City Hall downtown again
It took a lot of hustle, but the City of Yuma was opened in its new downtown City Hall by the start of business, Monday morning.
A huge crowd attended a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. at the new City Hall, located in the old Bank of Colorado building at the corner of S. Main and Fourth Ave. Everything inside and out and was looking sharp and fresh following the hectic conclusion to the summer-long project.
The Yuma Public Library, and other entities that have office space at the old City Hall, will remain in that location, which soon will be home to Northeastern Junior College’s first-ever branch campus.
The main office is located upstairs, along with the city manager’s office. The central open area in the back is now home to Yuma City Council meetings. In fact, the first one was held Monday morning at 9 as the council held a special meeting concerning the water and sewer main line replacement project.
All other department heads have their offices in the downstairs.
Nearly the whole city staff spent all of last week moving everything from the old home to the new one. The main office personnel stayed busy conducting business at the old home, and Sanitation continued to do the trash routes, along with personnel manning the wastewater treatment plant, but everybody else, including police officers loading and unloading trailers full of items. There were filing cabinets, desks, furniture, computers, equipment and much more.
City Manager Scott Moore said he could not even hazard a guess how many trips were made.
When asked if anyone started to get stressed as the week wore on, Moore responded, “Me. I was probably most stressed Thursday and Friday…It didn’t look good Friday morning.”
However, contractors and city staff worked over the weekend, as well as early Monday morning, getting it all ready in time for the advertised 8 a.m. opening.
City Hall always had been downtown until moving into the old hospital building at the end of S. Main St. last decade.
The final tally for renovating the old bank into the new City Hall should be ready in time for the Yuma City Council’s August 20 meeting. (The August 6 meeting has been canceled since it falls on Tuesday of the Yuma County Fair.)
It is known the cost is well above $100,000, based on the expenditures approved by the council earlier this summer. However, two of the costs were “not to exceed” figures, so the exact amount has not been finalized yet.
Moore said the costs are covered in the Capital Projects Fund.
“We knew we would have enough (in that fund),” he said. “We were prepared financially to do this, but we couldn’t budget for it specifically (last fall) because we weren’t sure if we were going to do it when we did the budget.”
The genesis for City Hall moving back downtown began earlier last year as the Bank of Colorado was building its new home on the corner of highways 34 and 59, and NJC started looking for a location for a branch campus.
NJC leaders were interested in the Bank of Colorado building, and expressed an interest in trying to bring in tenants for some income. Moore said he got to thinking after one meeting that City Hall would be an ideal building for NJC — including already having several paying tenants — and the bank building would be a great fit as the new City Hall.
After lengthy negotiations with everyone’s lawyers involved, the deal was finalized last December in time for the Bank of Colorado’s grand opening at its new location.
Now all that is left is NJC getting set up in its new home. (Look for more on that at a later date.)