Middletown office renovation under budget, ahead of schedule
MIDDLETOWN – Renovations to the Town Hall at 7875 Church St. are ahead of schedule and under budget, and Mayor Charles Harbaugh said he is very pleased about that.
“We have a contractor that moved along and kept it under budget,” Harbaugh said.
A total of $500,000 was budgeted from the current and the next fiscal year to pay for needed renovations to the original town hall. Expenses are $200,000 so far, according to Rebecca Layman, town manager and treasurer.
Harbaugh said the building is 150 years old. “This is a historic building and it deserved to be saved.”
The mold that forced the move has been safely removed and the building is healthy to work in. A new roof was installed, as well as other work, making the building water tight.
The last two Town Council meetings have been held there and town offices could resume operating again out of the building by the first of the year, a year earlier than initially anticipated.
Down on Main Street
Harbaugh and the Town Council will have to begin discussions about what is to be done with the building at 7735 Main St. where the town has been conducting most of its business since purchasing the building last year for $219,000.
Harbaugh said he would like the town to retain the Main Street building.
“I would like to retain the police presence on Main Street but city council and I have to have those discussions,” he said.
That would leave about three to four employees moving back to the Church Street building.
Police Chief Gary Benedict supports his department remaining at the Main Street location.
“The police department should be on Main Street. You can’t have people driving down side streets looking for the police department,” Benedict said. “There was also not a lot of room for us there,” he said of the Church Street location.
Benedict, who was named police chief about six weeks ago, said he did not work in the old building but has heard what others have said. He has visited that building and noted the cramped space they had operated in.
The department needs space for officers, an evidence room, an interview room, police cruisers, equipment and more.
“It is tough to interview someone when the other person involved is in the next room,” Benedict said.
The Main Street building provides them with that space, he said.
“I don’t see where we will outgrow it anytime soon,” Benedict said.