Committee begins planning to renovate historic landmark

The Mayor’s City Hall Committee held there first meeting on July 16 to begin the planning stages of what to do with the old City Hall building that sits in downtown. The committee discussed ideas for what to do with the recognizable building just down the street in the city’s current if temporary City Hall. After several ideas to turn the building into another art gallery or a micro-brewery were shot down, the committee decided that it would be best for the City of Ely to plan on eventually relocating back to the over 80 year old structure once after major renovations are made to improve it’s ability to facilitate necessary city functions.

Mayor Melody Van Camp laid out a preferred time-line of having the building ready by the time the two-year lease for the current City Hall expires.

“The main thing is that we are going to do something with that building. I am really excited to be starting this process,” Van Camp said.

The seven person committee consists of Brad Christiansen, Ernie Corduan, City Councilwoman Jolene Gardner, Mike O’Brien, Nathan Robertson, Gary Schielke and Glenn Terry.

Gardner, who had previously opposed the idea of moving out of the original City Hall while she was running for her city council seat, echoed the Mayor’s excitement for the renovation.

Nathan Robertson was assigned to look into the benefits of listing the original City Hall building on the National Register of Historic Places, much like he did with the McGill Depot, to open up new potential grant monies.

In addition, the committee decided they would like to place an item on the city council’s August 6 meeting asking the council to approve a budget of $30,000 to put out a request for proposal to different architects. The committee whittled down a list of different “must haves” for the renovated building, including enough offices to house all the city employees as well as a place to hold public meetings and a conference room.

The committee’s next meeting will be held in the current City Hall building on Campton street on August 20 at 9 a.m. The meeting is open to the public and unlike regular city council meetings, anyone can join in the discussion at anytime to contribute their thoughts and ideas about how they feel the building’s renovations should be handled.

The original City Hall building hasn’t been remodeled or renovated since the 1970s, according to Mayor Melody Van Camp. (Garrett Estrada photo)

The original City Hall building hasn’t been remodeled or renovated since the 1970s, according to Mayor Melody Van Camp.
(Garrett Estrada photo)