An architect told the Elizabethtown Borough Council that the total cost for proposed renovations to two buildings will be about $3 million.
Gary Weaver of the architectural firm Tippets/Weaver presented a feasibility study for the renovation plans for the existing borough building and a historic building proposed to be the new borough administrative offices to the Borough Council at its meeting on Thursday, April 19. Weaver said the total cost for renovating a historic building at 56 N. Market St for use as the new borough administrative building will be about $1.8 million. He said the cost for modifying the existing building that now serves as administrative offices and police headquarters into a larger police station will be a little under $1.2 million.
Both the administrative offices and the police station are crowded. The borough wants to revitalize downtown and preserve historic buildings, so it has agreed to purchase the building at 56 N. Market St. that was long the home of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. and has asked Tippets/Weaver to study the feasibility of repurposing the buildings.
Weaver said the historic Market Street building “we pretty much saw as a shell.” He said it is structurally sound but will need all new electric, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. He proposed restoring the exterior of the main part of the building, which he said was first built in 1745, to how it looked after it was expanded in 1915. It currently has a stucco facade and vinyl windows. The ground floor will be fully accessible to people in wheelchairs; he said the square footage of the other floors is small enough that there will be no requirement to install an elevator. He proposed to restore to main staircase built in the center of the building in 1915 to its original, fully exposed condition, removing walls added later.
The Market Street building was expanded in the 1960s with an addition next to its parking lot. Weaver proposed putting the Borough Council chambers in the addition and adding a second story to it with offices above. He proposed putting a clear glass connection between the historic part of the building and the 1960s addition. He also proposed putting secure doors between the council chambers area and the office areas, allowing the council chambers to be open for public meetings at night while keeping the office area secure.
Weaver said the Hanover Street building is in good shape, but will need improvements to be a modern police station. The space for processing arrestees, intake and booking is inadequate, he said; the Elizabethtown Police Department contains a regional booking center used by several police agencies. The booking center is where mug shots are taken and a sophisticated machine is in place to take fingerprints and make them into digital files that can be instantly compared with a database.
Weaver said the police station ought to have a showers along with the locker rooms. The new renovation will have more space for evidence storage, which Weaver said is currently inadequate. An elevator will need to be added to the police station because the square footage is large enough for building codes to require it. Also, he said there should be covered parking for police cars so officers will not have to scrape ice off car windows in the winter.
In other business, a group of Elizabethtown College students presented a plan to have blue Adirondack chairs placed around the borough sponsored by various businesses as a way of beautifying the town and encouraging people to congregate outdoors. Quinn Waldrup, Wyatt Schwanger and Steven McAlpine presented the idea, which expands upon chairs already on the Elizabethtown College campus and a few in Elizabethtown Community Park.
“We think it will look really nice with the royal blue all over town in front of businesses,” McAlpine said.
All council members present said they liked the idea; Council President Marc Hershey and member Bill Troutman were absent, as was Mayor Chuck Mummert.
Also, Borough Manager Roni Ryan said she had been in touch with neighboring municipalities about working to keep the magisterial district court in Elizabethtown open. The longtime judge of that court, Jayne F. Duncan, resigned effective April 8, leading the county’s top judge to say he might close the court and have Elizabethtown cases heard elsewhere.
Councilor Jeff McCloud said closing the Elizabethtown court will not only raise costs for police, who will have to travel a longer distance for hearings, but will be a problem for the public, especially those without cars who would have difficulty getting to the court in Mount Joy.
“It’s a hardship on the citizens who rely on that office,” McCloud said.