City Council approves next phases of Daniel Boone Building renovations

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | 10:38 p.m. CST; updated 3:21 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA-The next two phases of planned renovations to the Daniel Boone Building will begin in February.

City Council approved phases 2 and 3 of the renovations Tuesday night with little conflict, although some expressed regret over how the planning and fund allocation of the renovations and future construction have been handled.

“I just have a few regrets that I wish we could have done things differently,” said Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, referring to complaints that there’s been a lack of public discussion on the renovations.

The building bidding through a purchasing agent should start in February. Phase 2 of construction is expected to start in late April or early May and last over an 18-month period with a desired end date of fall 2009. Phase 2 involves the destruction of the annex on Eighth Street and Broadway and the construction of a five-story addition.

“The new addition will be of a nature that is historically compatible with the current Daniel Boone Building,” said Toni Messina, director of communications for the city. “They won’t look exactly alike, but they will be compatible because we respect the historic integrity of this sight.”

After phase 2 is completed, phase 3 will start with the renovation of the current building. It should be completed by fall 2010.

Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine oversaw the planning of phase 1, which included renovations to the lobby. Romaine will continue to oversee the building and renovations during the upcoming phases.

Even with a price tag of $23 million, Romaine contends that the renovations and additions will be worth it in the long run because they’ll end up saving the city money.

“The city pays about $300,000 in lease payments every year, and over time this is going to be more cost beneficial,” he said.

Most citizens who attended the city council meeting went to support the proposed additions and renovations to the current city hall.

“Most of us would prefer to own our home than renting it,” former Forth Ward Councilman Jim Loveless said during the time given for public response.

Overall, all the City Council members supported the next phases of the project.

“I look forward to seeing the first brick go up,” Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said.

Also at the council meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance by a 5-0 vote to install security cameras in the Sixth Street and Cherry Street parking garage and in the Seventh Street and Walnut Street parking garage.

The cost of the new cameras and installation will be $65,400. The annual budget for maintaining the security cameras in all city garages was estimated by City Manager Bill Watkins to be about $50,000, which Watkins said was about double what the city current spends. Watkins said the city had already planned to install cameras in all garages in the next several years, and this was an acceleration of those plans.

Reporter Justin O’ Neil contributed to this story.

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