GARDENDALE — The city of Gardendale purchased a piece of property Monday that is to be the location of a new city hall facility.
Mayor Othell Phillips announced during Monday’s council meeting that he finalized the purchase of four and one-half acres on Bell Street across from the Gardendale Senior Center. The city paid $450,000 for the site.
The property contains a house that Phillips said the city will renovate and rent out for teas, wedding receptions and other events. The L-shaped site connects with Main Street; city hall will be constructed on that street.
City Council President Stan Hogeland said he wants to get quotes from three architectural firms. The city council will interview the three firms on July 29, 5:30 p.m., at the Public Safety Center during a meeting open to the public.
The mayor and council had formerly planned to relocate city hall to the City Center development on Mt. Olive Road, which now contains Buffalo Wild Wings.
Phillips said the change is because the City Center is under contract with a development company, which wants to develop and lease out the entire property.
He said the city council should receive the plan for the center in about 60 days; the council will approve the final plan.
Also during the meeting, the council created positions for three new firefighters. There are already three positions already open, so Fire Chief Clint Doss will hire six people to staff a new fire station set to open Oct. 1 on Fieldstown Road near Phillips Drive.
Councilman Greg Colvert and Phillips expressed concern about where the funds would come from; the additional personnel will cost the city at least $300,000 a year from the general fund.
“Where does that money come from when we’re running a deficit?” Colvert said.
Phillips said the council had determined that funds to pay the new personnel would be generated from new developments under way in Gardendale, including Dewey Barber Chevrolet, Publix, T.J. Maxx, Panera Bread and others.