Updated Jan. 22, 9:44 a.m.–
Construction of the new $22 million Citrus Heights city hall is “on target” for completion by September of this year, according to the project’s manager and City officials.
After beginning work on the project last July, Project Manager Tyler Gahagan said structural steel went in earlier this month, followed by a roof being put on the 35,000-square-foot facility last week. Currently, he said crews have started metal stud framing and are installing plumbing and electrical.
Gahagan said some site work had been slowed down by rain, which caused cement trucks to slip and slide in the mud, but he said the new hall is on track for completion by mid-September.
The new hall features a single-story design, along with an adjacent 4,000-square-foot utility yard. Its new location is on a 10.9-acre parcel just north of the post office on Fountain Square Drive, about a block away from where the old city hall was located.
Approved unanimously by councilmembers last March, the new hall project included authorization for Dignity Health to construct a three-story medical office building in place of the old city hall, at the corner of Fountain Square Drive and Greenback Lane. Demolition of the former hall was completed in November, and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new hall was held in July of last year.
According to Monica Alejandrez, who serves as assistant to the city manager, Panattoni Development submitted plans for the new 68,727-square-foot medical building, but a specific start date is unknown. She estimated construction would begin in spring of this year.
On its website, the City calls the new hall and medical building project “a unique public-private-partnership,” which it says will generate more than 170 jobs and result in a “direct investment of $53.2 million into the Citrus Heights economy.”
The new single-story hall will house 65 city employees, who were previously stationed in four separate buildings at the old hall. Staff are currently located in a temporary city hall facility being leased in the Grand Oaks Shopping Center on Auburn Boulevard. The hall was moved in July 2015 to allow for demolition work to begin.
The new city hall project caused some controversy among residents during discussion tracing back to 2013, with concerns about increased traffic, construction noise, and whether a new hall was needed. Supporters, like the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce and city council members, billed the project as good for jobs and a cost-efficient way to replace an aging hall without incurring debt.
The city manager’s office previously released figures saying the net impact of the new hall to the City’s general fund would only be about $8.9 million after 15 years, largely due to a $6.9 million lease agreement with Dignity Health for use of the old hall grounds, as well as projected energy savings from a new, more efficient city hall facility.
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A lawsuit filed by the group Preserve Our Civic Center is still ongoing against the project, with a Sacramento Superior Court hearing scheduled for April 1, 2016. Norman Hill, a representative for the group, said the lawsuit seeks to stop the project from moving forward, due to alleged violations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Hill said a “key” issue involved in the lawsuit regards traffic impact from the new medical building and city hall, a “major impact” he believes was “concealed” from the public, in violation of CEQA.
Prior requests for comment from city officials regarding the lawsuit have been referred to Ruthann Ziegler, the city attorney for Citrus Heights.
Ziegler replied Wednesday afternoon to a Sentinel request seeking the City’s perspective and response to the lawsuit, as well as if progress had been delayed on the project due to the lawsuit. In a short email statement, she said “progress on both the MOB and the new city hall is continuing,” but did not comment on the lawsuit.
Last July, Judge Timothy Frawley denied a motion from Hill’s group which sought to temporarily bar the City of Citrus Heights from proceeding with plans to demolish the old city hall. Although that attempt was unsuccessful, Hill said he’s hopeful “some kind of compromise settlement” can be reached with the City through the legal process, but said specifics couldn’t be addressed due to the ongoing nature of the lawsuit.
Updated Jan. 22, 9:44 a.m.--
Construction of the new $22 million Citrus Heights city hall is "on target" for completion by September of this year, according to the project's manager and City officials.
After beginning work on the project last July, Project Manager Tyler Gahagan said structural steel went in earlier this month, followed by a roof being put on the 35,000-square-foot facility last week. Currently, he said the...
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