By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Town Council has been working on plans to expand and renovate Town Hall and build a new fire station for a number of months and will hold a public informational meeting on Monday August 14th, at 6:30PM at Town Hall to converse with citizens about the project
According to Town officials, "The improvement project is expected to begin in November and will require re-location of Administration, Finance, Building, Recreation and Police staffing and closing of the Town Hall and Police Building during construction. Fire personnel will remain in their current location during this time. Completion is expected to take 12 – 18 months. Estimated budget is $3 million for a new Fire Station and $2 million for expansion and renovation, for a total of $5 million."
According to the Town, he current Police, Fire and Town Hall buildings were constructed 20+ plus years ago in the 1990s and have not been expanded since. Staffing has more than doubled over the years. The Fire Department used to consist of mostly volunteers, but now has eight full time employees, plus volunteers. Statutory requirements regarding retention of documents, police evidence storage, fire required equipment and turn out gear have also increased over the years. This has resulted in inadequate office space for staff, cramped storage space for evidence and document retention.
In a narrative for the project is states, "Because of the growth of the town as a full time residence and the increase of visitors and demands for services, the subject of space needs was addressed by Town Council in 2016. It was decided that the Town Hall building will be expanded to add new offices for Building Inspections and Recreation staff, an additional conference room, additional document vaults and a larger Council room."
The Police Department building will be updated and expanded into the current attached building used by Fire Personnel. A new Fire station will be constructed on land adjacent to the Town Hall complex. Additionally, the traffic and parking layout will be re-designed to add 48 more parking spaces to accommodate visitors and staff.
Town Council expects these improvements will serve the town needs adequately for 25 years or more.
As of July 2017, plans are being finalized by an architectural firm with the expectation that construction will begin in early October. Construction and renovation will take at least a year or longer.