Marble Falls city staff have outgrown the current City Hall, 800 Third St. A new and expanded City Hall is in the works. File photo
With Marble Falls expected to grow in the coming years, the city will need a bigger place to do business, and talks regarding a new City Hall have become more serious in recent months.
City Councilors Bryan Walker and Dave Rhodes spoke to DailyTrib.com about the current state of the project and their thoughts on its design.
“We want to make sure, when we do this, we make a City Hall that’s going to consistently meet the needs of city employees, the community, future city councils, and mayors to come,” Walker said. “I don’t want to rush into this project and be 15 years down the road and realize we didn’t plan for something well enough.”
The current City Hall, 800 Third St., was built as a bank in the 1950s and refurbished for city offices in the 1990s. Its lack of space has forced the city to lease offices across town for several departments, which councilors believe negatively impacts collaboration among staff.
“People don’t realize we have long outgrown the space that we’re in,” Rhodes said. “We have people scattered around the city in different facilities. It makes communication more challenging. ”
“They’re a great group,” Walker said. “Randall (Scott) himself is a great guy. They were a clear favorite when we were going through the selection process.”
The Houston-based firm has designed several municipal offices, including city halls in Granbury, Commerce, Vidor, Boerne, and Prosper. Marble Falls councilors will visit the last two on Dec. 7 and 8 to see how they function and ask questions about the design process.
“It’s nice to go in and get examples on what folks did and why they did it,” Rhodes said. “Architecturally, functionally, there’s so many options, it’s nice to find out how it worked out for them.”
The wishlist for a new Marble Falls City Hall would include expanded office space and parking for a growing staff as well as hike-and-bike-trails for residents.
“If we’re going to do something, it needs to be iconic; otherwise, we should just move into an existing building and put our name on the top,” Rhodes said. “Iconic doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. It means a source of city pride.”
Rhodes hopes to entice private developers to build near the new City Hall and use its facilities to increase the city’s growth and financial stability through public-private partnerships.
“I’m a huge fan of public-private projects,” he said. “I think it’s a better use of space, facilities, and it’s a much more economical use of funds. I hope it continues to be a piece of the puzzle throughout the conceptual thinking.”
While the actual site of the project is yet to be determined, it will be centrally located.
“The sites we’ve been looking at are very near the downtown area,” Walker said. “We don’t want to put a City Hall way outside of where a lot of the city functions are.”