Civic Center façade project progressing

Progress on the Civic Center façade project is continuing and demolition has moved around to the east side of the building in preparation for new panels being fit into place, according to the city.

Crews from Talisman, the contractor, will be pressure washing the old brick on the west side of the fly  loft over the next few weeks and on top of the fly loft, they are putting the last of the mortar in place and sealing joints, according to the city.

Some of the scaffolding along the upper south side of the building should start coming down in the near future, according to the city.

“From on top, looking straight along the wall lines, it is amazing how straight the walls are in comparison to the original finished construction and you can see how clean and bright the new wall panels are,” according to a post from the city.

The project was funded through the Downtown Tax Increment Finance District, which was established to encourage and support public safety, blight elimination and increased code compliance in the downtown urban renewal area.
In April 2021, City Commissioners approved a $5.41 contract to Talisman Construction Services for the project and in October 2021, commissioners approved a $300,000 change order, bringing the total contract to $5.71 million.

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Commissioners granted budget authority of $6 million in downtown tax increment bonds, according to staff, leaving a balance of $288,318 with the contract change.

Staff said that if future change orders were needed, they could also be funded through other sources, such as TIF, CARES Act funds and possibly some American Rescue Plan Act funds.

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Staff said in October that additional issues have been found that “could not have been foreseen with the existing study as each of these conditions were concealed by the stone panels and parapet materials.”

In 2016, the city conducted an engineering study on the façade that included removing a panel and that made contractors aware of some of the underlying conditions of the building.

$5.4 million Civic Center repair contract on April 6 City Commission agenda

City officials have discussed the need to repair the Civic Center façade since at least 2011 and in June 2020, City Manager Greg Doyon restricted access to the front of the Civic Center due to public safety concerns.

Civic Center façade project on Nov. 17 commission agenda for first read to set public hearing for Dec. 1

A piece of the back panel became dislodged, triggering the evaluation of other areas around the Civic Center, including “substantial cracking and buckling of the front panels,” according to the city.

As a precaution, the city installed barricades to protect the public from falling debris.

The Civic Center building was built in the 1930s, under the Works Progress Administration. The Works Progress Administration was renamed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration, according to the city’s history of the building. The program was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential order and funded by Congress with passage of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act on April 8, 1935.