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Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
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With new city hall plan on hold, old one is facing wrecking ball

DADE CITY - Plans for a new city hall in Dade City are still up in the air, but demolition of the old building will take place not long after the Kumquat Festival, according to Gordon Onderdonk, Dade City's public works director. "We're probably going to be issuing out the bid [for demolition] toward the middle of January — that will take about 30 days, so were looking after the Kumquat Festival — February or March or early spring," Onderdonk said. According to Onderdonk, there are still some records being kept in the old Dade City City Hall building at 38020 Meridian Ave., but all the employees and offices have been moved to the annex next to the old City Hall or to the old Dade City Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot on the U.S. 98/301 bypass. "As far as operations, nothing is happening in that building right now," he said.
The building is functionally obsolete, Onderdonk added, and proposals to renovate it were dismissed because the work of bringing it up to current safety codes would be cost-prohibitive. In addition, the layout was more conducive to a hotel than a city hall. While there are long-range plans for a new city hall building, there are no specifics as of yet. A $6 million combined municipal and police complex on Meridian Avenue was designed by architect Lisa Wannemacher in 2010, but the plans were rejected by the city commission. At the time, officials had hoped to qualify for a federal grant to pay for half of the project. The grant was denied, no further plans have been finalized and no concept is certain except that there will be a new city hall sometime in the future. "Nothing is off the table right how," Onderdonk said. "It could be [built on] another site; let your imagination run wild on that. Step one is to get a budget that the city can afford. That's the first talk we need to have in order to move forward. We haven't ironed out what the budget will be."
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