Van Alstyne ponders City Hall replacement - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Van Alstyne ponders City Hall replacement

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Van Alstyne's City Hall is a 127-year-old bank building. (KTEN) Van Alstyne's City Hall is a 127-year-old bank building. (KTEN)
The Van Alstyne City Council has voted to purchase this former lumber yard as the possible site for a new City Hall. (KTEN) The Van Alstyne City Council has voted to purchase this former lumber yard as the possible site for a new City Hall. (KTEN)

VAN ALSTYNE, Texas -- Van Alstyne City Hall has seen better days.

The two-story building at 242 East Jefferson Street started life as First National Bank in 1890.  But the years have taken their toll on the integrity of the structure.

Now the city is toying with the idea of buying an old lumber yard across from the fire and police department headquarters on North Preston Street, but questions remain whether it is suitable as a location for the next home of municipal government.

The asking price is $175,000. The City Council voted Wednesday to express their intent in purchasing the property for up to $200,000.

"We intend when we can to probably put a portable building there temporarily to house our City Hall personnel because that building is too dilapidated," Mayor  Larry Cooper said. "We want to get out of there as soon as we can."

But the mayor said a permanent relocation to that site is unlikely.

"Actually, there was a plan to do something like that at one time, but I don't think that will ever work out, actually," Cooper said.

That's because there is a major obstacle to that scenario -- literally. It's an existing well on the property which restricts building within 150 feet.

"It would cost a lot to remove that well, and it would cost a lot to fill it so that you can build a building on it," the mayor said.

Van Alstyne resident Kaaren Teuber said that detail makes this property unworthy of the city's investment.

"We're not that rich of a city that we can buy property like that and build some temporary buildings on -- which is one thing I heard -- and they go out and find another place, buy some more property to build a City Hall," she said.

But Mayor Cooper said he knows about the well, and that the land under consideration would be used for a temporary facility or a parking lot. He said the City Council remains undecided on what the space will be used for, but they really want to acquire the entire block.

"We do have to figure out how to shuffle and relocate, and we will talk to managers and see what it would cost to make that space available, but it is very costly," the mayor said.

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