Council Focuses On New Town Hall

Crothersville town council members considered four options before narrowing them to two when the board met in a special meeting last Monday.
Council President Ardell Mitchell outlined four options for a town hall: use another town-owned structure, buy a new building, build on the former town hall property or stay in the present building at 117 East Howard Street the town is renting as a town hall.
“We need a real good compelling reason to go out and buy,” Mitchell.
The first two options—using an existing town facility and buying a new building and property—were ruled out by the council.
Town officials have been discussing where to house town hall since the former building was damaged and later razed in a 2006 wind storm.
Earlier design drawings included areas for police offices, but with the opening of a new police station last year, the town hall’s building’s size to be cut in half. Original square footage was at 2,885, and the council discussed a building with as little as 1,400 square feet—smaller than the current rented structure.
The initial project cost was estimated at $441,000. That can now be reduced to around $250,000, Mitchell said.
“Our (current) town hall is old, very old,” Councilwoman Karen Mains said of the 17-year-old building, adding that purchasing the building would end up costing more than building a newer facility. “We have the resources to buy a nice, new building.” A smaller price tag means the town wouldn’t need to obtain a loan because it has the cash on hand to make the purchase.
Lincoln Taylor of LATCO Construction spoke to the council about what a typical building would cost, how to keep costs manageable and the services his company provides.
“It’s a simple building,” Taylor said of the rough sketches. “It’s not complicated at all.”
Taylor used a recent commercial structure his company built at a cost of about $100 per square foot or $150,000 for a 1,500-square-foot building.
Mains, who favors new construction, emphasized that it would save money in the long run, rather than spending money to fix an older building.
“We were not being frivolous with this,” Mains said of the original plans.
The building would tentatively consist of an entry, a large file storage room, an open area where the sewer and general accounting desks would sit, a drive-through night deposit area, a break room, a corridor separating parts of the office, two handicapped-accessible bathrooms and a meeting room that would also double as a conference room.
“A big part of our other building was storage,” Mains said. She added the town must keep years of records on file.
The council isn’t ruling out the possibility of trading a town property for one in a prime U.S. 31 location, and members are also considering selling other town properties to help pay for the new town hall.