The final four

The final four by David Lias At one time, the Vermillion City Hall Advisory Committee had a list of 21 different suggested sites � in either new or renovated buildings � for housing municipal offices.

That list had been narrowed, through an elimination process used by the committee, from 21 sites to 13.

During its Dec. 14 meeting, committee members weeded the list even further.

Four site suggestions still survive. They will receive scrutiny from both the advisory committee's professional consultant � Owen Mamura of Cannon, Mamura, Moss & Brygger � as well as the public.

Following both professional and public input, the advisory committee hopes to reach a consensus and make a final suggestion to the Vermillion City Council in late February.

"We went with the ability to meet space needs requirements, the visibility, image and esthetics, the on-site parking requirements, size, shape and topography, and the accessibility," Jill LeCates, committee member, said.

The committee narrowed its list of 21 sites down to 13 by eliminating those that didn't meet space needs requirements, or were located on land that wouldn't be available. "On the 13 sites we had remaining, we evaluated them on an individual basis," LeCates said. "We had (City Finance Officer) Mike Carlson add up the totals (of the site ratings) to see where they fell, and we had an in-depth discussion on where they ended up."

Mamura will develop cost estimates of constructing or renovating a new city hall for Vermillion on the four final sites, she said, "and a mock of what it will look like on that site," LeCates said.

The four final sites are:

* The current city hall site; not the existing building. "We do not feel that the existing building meets space needs requirements, and it has a lot of issues with meeting code. So, it's not an option to have the existing city hall as it is be considered, however, the site it is on, if we acquire the land around it, does meet space needs requirements," she said.

Mamura's study of this site will include demolishing the existing city hall and erecting a new facility on that block.

* the northeast corner of Main and High streets, which is the current location of Fullerton Lumber.

* the Bank of the West building, formerly known as Community First Bank, located in downtown Vermillion.

* the southwest corner of Market and Kidder. This location, across the street from the city's newly opened incubator facility, is the site of the old National Guard Armory building.

"The site would be the whole block," LeCates said. "We would acquire that property from them (the National Guard). We're going to be talking with them, discussing the possibility of relocating them, because we feel that whole block could be a beautiful location."

The committee has held no discussions on which of these four locations should receive preference. Members are waiting for the consultant's information and public input.

"On Jan. 18, our committee will meet, and we will have cost estimates back from Mamura," LeCates said, "and we will have another public meeting to give people a chance to share their opinions.

"We will also conduct another survey," she said.

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