Proposal To Move City Hall To Common Pleas Courthouse Would Provide Needed Updates And Save Money

A discussion is underway on how to save Cape Girardeau’s historic Common Pleas Courthouse and simultaneously provide a new headquarters for city government.

During their Monday meeting, the city council discussed a new proposal to move City Hall into an expanded Common Pleas and Annex facility. This move would nearly halve the $20 million cost of a previous plan to raze and rebuild city hall, currently housed in the historic Lorimier school building.

City Manager Scott Meyer said in the proposal they identified $12 million for the cost of improvements, with half the funds coming from the Capital Improvement Sales Tax and the other half possibly coming from the casino.

City mayor Bob Fox said the idea seems pretty popular among both city officials and residents.  

“It’s gonna spend a lot less money than what we originally thought. We’re saving the most iconic building in the city, in Common Pleas Courthouse and the annex and the old library,” said Mayor Bob Fox. “And we’re not tearing down this building. So that satisfies the needs and wants of a lot of people.”

 

A familiar group of architects were also at Monday’s Meeting: Chiodini Architects, who designed the new police station. They presented concepts for possible renovations on Common Pleas, which is in need of repairs. These illustrated how city hall would fit into the building, while also providing a layout which would make the facility ADA-accessible and secure.

The public would have to vote in August to extend the Capital Improvement Sales Tax in order to fund the project.

Deputy City Manager Molly Mehner presented information on bonding the city hall project with an improvement project on the Cape airport.

“It makes sense to go ahead and pay a little bit in interest to get those improvements done right away, to minimize the cost that we have to spend on maintenance while we’re waiting to collect the money and spend it as we go,” she said.

During the meeting, staff also considered moving different customer service agents to other public offices in the city.

 

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