Maitland will start construction on its new city hall this week, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday.

The shovels will hit the dirt more than six years after residents voted for a referendum that approved $8.5 million in bonds for a new city hall, fire station and police station. The city hall is the last project to get off the ground. This is going to be something that’s long overdue and joyously received, Councilwoman Bev Reponen said.

Independence Lane, immediately east of the new city hall site, is temporarily closed to accommodate construction of both city hall and the fire station.

Catalyst for Town Center

Maitland has also been struggling to jumpstart its downtown revitalization, seeing two developers come and go with no change to the four-block area. The new city hall, Mayor Howard Schieferdecker said, will jumpstart interest in the project.

This is the catalyst, Schieferdecker said. Once we start construction (on city hall), there will be more interest from outside developers. He said there are already some firms interested in developing property north of Horatio Avenue and the former Winn-Dixie and Royal Plaza site.

Maitland City Council terminated the development agreement for the Maitland Town Center in December after developer Bob Reese filed Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection to stave off a foreclosure sale of the former Winn-Dixie and Royal Plaza parcels. The development agreement had originally included the fire station and city hall, but city officials carved out those projects because the city had the money to proceed.

The Design

The new $4 million Mediterranean-style city hall designed by ACi will be 24,000 square feet, three stories tall and have a cupola that extends into the sky.

The building was originally slated to be 30,000 square feet but was knocked down to 24,000 because of dwindling funds and staffing cuts. The city will be able to add on the additional 6,000 square feet in the future if needed, Community Development Director Dick Wells said.

I hope it proves to be large enough, Reponen said.

The new building will allow non-emergency city staff to all be under one roof, they’re currently housed in several buildings around the city. There will be art displayed in the foyer through a partnership with the non-profit organization Art & History Museums, Maitland. The City Council chambers will be more of a functional space complete with removable chairs.

Projects Rising

The new city hall will be built near the current City Hall, on Independence Lane and Packwood Avenue, adjacent to the new fire station. The Edward Doyle Police Headquarters was completed November 2009 on Fennell Street.

The fire station broke ground in March. It will be finished in about a year. The city hall will be completed two months later.

The city building these buildings will establish confidence in this area, and I hope it will let property owners know that we’re serious about making downtown into a viable area that we expect to succeed, Wells said.