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Asbestos removal next for new city hall project

SOLON– It might be a while before Solon’s new city hall takes shape.
The City of Solon took possession of 100 W. Main St. in July, intending to convert the two-story location formerly known as the Candy Store into city offices and council chambers.
Asbestos removal has been scheduled for the beginning of October, but council members are in no hurry to rush the project.
At an Aug. 29 special meeting, the Solon City Council approved a bid of $14,250 from Abatement Specialties of Cedar Rapids, a significant savings over original estimates, which were closer to $50,000. During an environmental assessment, asbestos was identified as being present in the floor of the main level, the ceilings of the second-story apartments and around the windows and doors of the apartments.
According to city administrator Cassandra Lippincott, Abatement Specialties will begin work on removal Oct. 1 with approximately six days scheduled before completion.
Meanwhile, a small committee will be at work trying to reach consensus on a basic framework of improvements for the building and the next steps needed to move forward.
The structure was constructed in 1972 and features pre-stressed concrete ceilings and 7,200 square feet of space, with apartments on the second level. The lower level of the building is projected to provide adequate space for city offices, council chambers and a conference room.
The committee– Lippincott, public works director Scott Kleppe and council members Steve Stange and Mark Krall– will attempt to determine how many offices are needed and what base improvements need to be made.
How far the city goes with the project will largely depend on the cost of rehabilitation.
The city has approved borrowing up to $900,000 in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) bonds to finance the purchase and renovation of the Main Street building, and with a $214,000 purchase price and the cost of asbestos removal, there will be roughly $660,000 available for renovations.
The committee is expected to meet for the first time prior to the Sept. 19 regular council meeting, Stange said. He said it was possible the city might look at phased improvements for the second story, depending on the costs of upgrading the ground level.
Once the committee has a handle on the costs for minimum improvements, the city anticipates seeking Requests For Proposals (RFPs) from architectural firms for design services.