MADEIRA BEACH - The City Commission agreed to move ahead with adding a first floor to City Hall. Currently, the City Hall offices are at second-floor level, with vacant space below.
The proposal came from the city Planning Department. Community Development Director Linda Portal said the additional space is needed, especially by the Planning Department.
"There are meetings going on in all departments all the time. We hold them in the hallways and outside," she said. "We have a lot more activity, and we don't have the proper space to do the work."
Adding the space "would let us get some of the functions that are out in the open into enclosed offices, and give us the security and confidentiality we need," Portal said.
There are columns in place that support the existing second floor. Portal said the new ground floor level would require only walls and a finished ceiling to hide existing utility apparatus.
The money to pay for construction of the new floor will come from the city building fund, which is financed from project fees handled by the Building Department. It is expected to cost $350,000 to $375,000, Portal said.
There are several big proposed projects expected to generate more than enough money to cover that cost, she said.
Commissioner Nancy Hodges said she was uneasy about adding a floor underneath the City Hall.
"We're still in a flood zone," she said.
Portal said the section will be flood-proofed "so wave action doesn't affect it." She said special construction methods required by federal rules not allow water in.
The commission agreed with City Manager Evans' request to go forward with getting bids on the first floor addition.