Saluda moves forward with plans for city hall restoration

Published 12:20 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saluda is moving forward with a phased out project to renovate its current city hall and police department after another building the city considered purchasing is no longer for sale.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 8 and heard from city administrator Erny Williams who said he has begun soliciting bids for work on city hall. The city allotted $10,000 in this year’s budget to use to gain financing for the first phase of work.

Williams said he is seeking bids on windows, re-mudding the brick and work on the roof. He said he is also waiting on prices for painting the front of the building and replacing metal at the bottom of the building.

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In June, Saluda commissioners considered purchasing the Ryan Boyle building downtown, which seemed like a cheaper option to move city hall and the police department, but following an appraisal of the building, the building is no longer available.

Commissioners discussed possibilities for paying for the first phase of renovations, depending on the bids. Commissioner George Sweet said the first priority is the roof as it is leaking again, but the brick needs to be done prior to the roof. Sweet said the city may have enough money to do the first phase without financing, but it will depend on the estimates and what the budget looks like at the time.

The city could borrow money from its fund balance while awaiting loan approval. In order to finance a project, local governments must first seek approval from the N.C. Local Government Commission.

Earlier estimates to complete all repairs on the historic city hall, which is about 100 years old, were approximately $2,000,000. An historic preservation expert and architect estimated last year that the first phase of renovations would cost around $282,000.

The building was last restored in 1986 and has since suffered from deferred maintenance, according to a preliminary conditions assessment. Continual water infiltration through the roof, masonry and sheet metal has also led to damage on the interior and damage to the structural wood framing.