tampabay.com

Library turning into Seminole City Hall

"This is super nice," one council member says of the board's new home.

By ANNE LINDBERG
Published January 19, 2005


SEMINOLE - Council members were delighted with their new digs last week after a brief premeeting tour of the new City Hall.

"This is super nice," Pete Bengston said.

Pat Hartstein predicted, "I think people will be very pleased with it when they see it."

The new City Hall, at 9199 113th St. N, the site of the old Seminole Community Library, is still being renovated. The library is now across the street, part of the St. Petersburg College campus.

City Hall renovations are scheduled for completion late this month. If all goes well, Seminole city offices will be closed Feb. 4 for the move from 7464 Ridge Road. They will stay closed until the grand opening late Feb. 7. After that, regular city hours will resume.

The old City Hall will be converted to a senior center.

The council's tour started happily, with members commenting on the fountain just outside the front door. Someone had already tossed in a few pennies, and some council members followed suit.

"Oh, you put money in?" Mayor Dottie Reeder asked. Then, to City Manager Frank Edmunds: "Hey, Frank, this might be a moneymaker."

The building, designed for the present and the future, is "still kind of a work in progress," Edmunds said. The seal on the south side of the building would be moved to the west side, over the main walkway. A flagpole will be installed and sod will be laid.

"Hopefully, the parking lot will be resealed and striped before the opening so it will look fresh," Edmunds said.

Edmunds said one of the challenges was trying to fit offices into the large open space. The building has about 17,000 square feet. The overall redo will cost about $2.3-million.

"There's room for growth," he said.

As council members entered the building, John Counts said, "Step into Tomorrowland."

Much of the interior of the building is tiled, with oak veneer woodwork.

Each council member will have a monitor to display exhibits that are displayed during council meetings. The lights, screens and other equipment will be electronically controlled.

The council's workshop room is just off the main council meeting room.

"Is this the table?" Reeder asked.

"It is the table," Edmunds said.

"It is round, isn't it?" Reeder said.

Council members were especially pleased with their office, which will have filing cabinets.

Hartstein said that would give her a place to keep things that have been stored at home.