Plenty of information was available on civic center

April 12, 2013

Public Forum:

The letter writer/taxpayer felt that elected officials were "ramming this new civic center down our throats." My husband has been a member of the Municipal Building Committee since April 2012. MBC is comprised of the mayor, three aldermen, department heads and residents. I've attended the meetings, and although I am not a member, if I have a question or a comment, I was always allowed to speak, as is any citizen attending the meeting.

A facility study was done of the present City Hall, buildable sites of land owned by the city and proposals submitted by three experienced architectural firms who design and oversee the construction of municipal buildings, were all considered. Municipal buildings of other cities were toured to view the designs and floor plans of buildings planned by firms bidding on the contract. Municipal buildings of various cities, not limited to the northern suburbs, were visited. These included new buildings designed by the firm selected by the MBC. Buildings in cities with a population and size similar to St. Francis were also visited.

The writer states that the facts of a new City Hall should have been presented, so an "informed decision" could be made by the residents. Five open houses were held between August 2012 and January 2013. Listening sessions were held, including the estimated cost to the taxpayers, questions were asked, opinions were given, and tours given of the fire, police, health departments, and administrative offices. Attendees had the opportunity to respond to a survey. The mayor, at least two or three aldermen and some members of the MBC were present for all open houses. Many people attended, they agreed there is a need for a new building. Low interest rates and the city's AAA bond rating were contributing factors in determining that the time is right to construct a new municipal building.

Notification of the open house was given via a flier sent home with St. Francis students, postings at the local grocery store, notices in the newspaper and sign boards placed around the city. Information was included in the city newsletter, and information could also be found at the city's website:

I'm looking forward to the new civic center and the historical society exhibits, which will proudly show the rich heritage of our city.

Margaret Raclaw

St. Francis

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