By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg’s new municipal complex will remain on North Kalamazoo Avenue.
Village council members heard an update on the matter at an April 25 meeting from Mike Frederick of Frederick Construction, and Curt Penny, from the architecture and engineering firm of Eckert Wordell, then committed to putting a new building on the existing site.
Penny said a survey was completed by 27 of 28 village employees. The questionnaire asked which one of four options would be preferred: Purchase and renovate an existing building in the village; purchase a new site and construct a new building; renovate and expand the existing building; or use the existing site, construct a new building and demolish the existing one.
After explaining the pros and cons of each of the four options, Penny said the most-popular response was constructing new on the current municipal complex site and demolishing the existing structure.
“That gave us some data to move forward with as we looked at these opportunities,” he said. “As part of our evaluation, it was important that the building is visible to the public, be in a walkable location and adjacent to other amenities such as parking.”
Penny said consideration was also given to a location in the village’s industrial park on West Prairie Street and the fire station on East Washington Street. He said both options had their share of shortcomings and didn’t come close to the benefits of keeping the current village hall location.
The current site would allow for a building between 6,500 and 7,000 square feet, Penny said. Key points he noted include the need for a meeting space to accommodate up to 25 people, a small conference room, offices for various village employees and storage.
The proposed development would also include the village’s police department. Penny said a separate entrance for the police department would be critical. It would also include locker rooms, a shower, an evidence room, interview room and storage.
Frederick said the village council will have three different exterior appearances and three different floor plans to select from once such drawings are created. Council member Gail Reisterer said she would like to see a design that reflects the village’s Victorian architecture.
A timeframe provided by Penny shows site plan and building concepts being chosen in May, cost estimates provided in June, approval and establishment of a building committee in July, bids let in January and construction beginning in April 2023.
The council in a unanimous vote approved a motion to commit to the site plan and advance the process to the next step. Village Manager Jim Mallery said the vote simply continues the process.
By Jef Rietsma