N.E. hall expansion could be costly
Study finds $600K+ project estimate
— While North East town hall can support a second floor, adding one would cost at least $600,000, a recent engineering assessment found.
Earlier this fall, North East approved a $6,900 engineering study to assess the feasibility of adding a second story to town hall. The results of the study were presented at the town’s meeting last week, with the engineering firm estimating it could cost anywhere between $600,000 and $800,000 to add a second floor.
North East has long outgrown its current town hall, located at 106 S. Main St. in the heart of the downtown, but has been never been able to find a suitable place to relocate.
With buildings on two sides and the town’s lone downtown parking lot on the other, town officials initially felt their best option might be to expand upwards. But the price tag is now giving them second thoughts.
“Technically, it can happen, but it’s a very expensive process,” Melissa Cook-MacKenzie, town administrator said on Monday.
If North East were to go this route, Cook-MacKenzie
said the town would also likely have to pay to rent office space somewhere for its staff while the construction took place, which would also add to the cost.
So town officials are once again considering whether they might be able to expand out into the parking lot or even add space that’s over town hall but not supported by the current building. To get a better idea of just how much space, the town might need, the town board last week authorized $2,600 for a space needs assessment, Cook-MacKenzie said.
One option that appears off the table is relocating from town hall’s prime downtown location. In September, the town board was considering whether North East could buy the former PNC Bank building at 14-18 S. Main St., just up the road and relocate there.
The board had discussed doing an engineering assessment of that three building complex but ultimately decided to assess whether a second floor could be added to the existing town hall first.
But earlier this month, Joseph Farina, managing broker with Divaris Real Estate (DRE), told the Whig that the complex was under contract with another company, with settlement expected in the next few months. Those three units, totaling about 10,392 square-feet on one parcel, had been on the market for $725,000 for more than two years.
For now, North East is gathering all the information needed to assess its options with the goal of staying put on Main Street, Cook-MacKenzie said.
“Fortunately, the mayor supports the concept and sees the value of staying on Main Street,” she said. “We certainly could go out and find acreage elsewhere, but we feel that’s not in our best interests long-term.”
Sandy Testerman, of Conowingo, took up hunting last year and wears pink-themed gear in honor of being a breast cancer survivor.
A firefighter battles the blaze at 370 Old Bayview Road near North East on Tuesday morning.
A recent engineering study found that adding a second floor to North East town hall could cost at least $600,000.