Douglas city officials and the Converse County commissioners are discussing the possibility of finding a new home for City Hall within the walls of the courthouse on North 5th Street.
Communication between the two entities is methodical and cautious. Nothing has been decided upon at this point, according to officials, but it’s a potential light at the end of the tunnel, as the city government has been searching for a new home and considering various options for several months.
In an early December email, City Administrator Jonathan Teichert asked County Commission Chairman Robert Short about a proposal for a joint county/city office facility and a request for a lease amount, should the idea turn into reality.
The letter was written to gauge the county’s interest in either leasing or selling office space in the courthouse, according to Teichert.
Much of the courthouse’s second floor space will be empty once construction of the Joint Justice Center’s Phase II is complete, the letter explains. At that time the circuit court judge, courtroom and staff, clerk of district court, district judge, district courtroom and supporting areas will relocate to the JJC on East Richards Street.
With the city’s police department vacating City Hall for the JJC in 2018, the building on the corner of Fourth and Center is now half-empty. But plans to simply remodel the building are proving elusive and costly.
“The relocation of the city’s police department has left City Hall approximately half-utilized. It may be advantageous to combine two half-empty government buildings, located one block apart, into one,” Teichert wrote to commissioners.
For more information, check out the Dougals Budget e-edition or the Dec. 25 print edition.