ROCKLAND, Maine — City officials have had preliminary, informal discussions about moving City Hall to a downtown location.
Mayor Will Clayton said that relocating City Halll in the downtown area has been an issue that people have raised with him since he has been on the council.
“There’s been a feeling that City Hall should be more accessible, more centrally located. Where it is now is difficult if you don’t have transportation,” Clayton said.
The council has not yet given the city manager any directive to find a new site, he said, and no new location has been considered.
“Discussions have been very, very preliminary,” Clayton said.
The city has had its offices at 270 Pleasant St. near the Thomaston town line since March 1996. The city purchased the building and property from Consumers Maine Water Co. for $800,000. Voters approved borrowing $525,000 toward that purchase in June 1995.
The 11,000-square-foot building is located on a 13.5-acre property. The city has the land and building appraised at nearly $1.1 million. City Hall is located next to the city-owned public works garage and its 4.4 acres. The city twice has tried to get voter approval to build a new garage at the site and is now looking to have the garage built at city-owned land adjacent to the transfer station.
The land where the public works garage is located is appraised by the city at $115,500.
The city properties are located a few hundred yards from Route 1.
Clayton said the loan for City Hall is scheduled to be paid off in a year or two and that is why he wants the city to begin planning now. The city owes $28,725 on the bond issuance for City Hall.
“We want to be proactive rather than reactive,” the mayor said.
The mayor said some people asked him whether the city would consider relocating to the Lincoln Street Center when it was up for sale last year.
City Manager James Smith’s budget message, issued in May, mentioned looking at the possibility of relocating City Hall to downtown as a long-term concept, but included no money for it.
Before moving to Pleasant Street, City Hall had been at the brick building at the intersection of Union and Pleasant streets where the Trackside Station restaurant is located. The Maine Department of Transportation purchased the building in anticipation of resuming summer train service and leases it to the restaurant. That building had been used as City Hall from 1959, when regular passenger train service ended in Rockland, until March 1996.