GRAHAM (KFDX/KJTL)—A Graham resident has started a petition against the potential move of City Hall to the American Legion Building.
Since October, Graham city leaders have been trying to find a new location for their city hall because the current building has some safety concerns for employees as well as issues with the Americans with Disability Act compliance. The city council decided to remodel the meeting room at the American Legion Building and make it the new city hall.
“It takes away a very important venue for meetings, family reunions, you name it, civic organizations not just their luncheons for city clubs but all kind of other events: bingo parties, pancake suppers,” resident Monty Montgomery said. “We have a record of utilizing that particular meeting hall.”
City Manager Brandon Anderson said he feels like city officials have done their due diligence as a staff in finding the best place for the city hall.
“We’ve met with the civic club groups that we have the agreement with and have been very transparent with them,” Anderson said. “It’s been on the city council agenda a couple of times. They are the ones that approved moving forward with the bid process and certainly, we’ve been very transparent throughout this.”
Anderson said the remodel would save residents money because the city has a benefactor who made a $300,000 donation that would not cost the taxpayers anything if the city hall was to move to the American Legion Building.
“Any other upgrades whether it be, if we were to be able to secure the lot from the county and build on that or if we were to remodel the current City Hall would be at the taxpayer’s expense because those funds are committed to the remodel of the American Legion building,” Anderson said.
Montgomery said the city doesn’t need to take a place that is available for use when there is another place that is vacant.
“I pointed out to them they could go out here and get the old bowling alley come in there and do a little open space programming, get an architect that knew what was going on and save money deluxe,” Montgomery said. “But of course, if we don’t get them to slow down to listen to some of this stuff, you know, I don’t know what to tell you.”
That’s what Montgomery said he hopes the city will do: slow down and listen to other alternatives, something the city manager said he believes has already been done.
The petition has a little more than 100 names as of Thursday afternoon, and Montgomery said he hopes to get on a city council agenda sometime soon.