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Horseshoe Bay discusses potential new City Hall as population grows

Horseshoe Bay City Council discusses a potential new City Hall

Horseshoe Bay City Council members Randy Rives (back, left), Kent Graham, Mayor Cynthia Clinesmith, Elsie Thurman, and Elaine Waddill met with architect Ray Gill (front left) of R. Gill and Associates and senior project architect Luis M. Duron and associate Jennifer Garza, both of LEVY Architects, on Thursday, Jan. 14, regarding city office space. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Horseshoe Bay leaders on Jan. 14 discussed what a potential new City Hall would look like at a City Council workshop Jan. 14.

Council members talked about facility needs and space as the city grows.

Leaders emphasized that there is no immediate plan for a new City Hall or to purchase land for one.

“Nobody has any illusions on breaking ground,” City Manager Stan Farmer said. 

“We know it takes a while to get the planning and architecture,” Mayor Cynthia Clinesmith said. “We can’t wait three years from now to start having these conversations. If we wait to start talking in three years, it’ll be six years (from now for a new building if one is approved).” 

City leaders discussed how existing space in the current City Hall, located at 1 Community Drive, is not keeping up with Horseshoe Bay’s growth. Clinesmith noted the city’s population has tripled in the past decade — to about 7,500 full- and part-time residents — and now has 7,400 utility customers. 

“We literally are housing people in closets,” she said about staff at the current City Hall. 

The structure was built in the 1980s, and additions have been made over the years. The facility has space for the city’s development services, council chambers, and some administrative offices. Horseshoe Bay’s main fire hall is next door. 

About 10 years ago, the Horseshoe Bay Police Department moved out of the city offices to a new nearby building. 

During the one-hour workshop Thursday, council members said they want architects to present as many options to them as possible, including the best ways to use existing space and what a new City Hall would look like, along with the projected costs of each option.  

The city has contracted with R. Gill and Associates and LEVY Architects to assist with the planning.

“We need to ensure (City Manager) Stan (Farmer) and his staff have enough room to grow,” Councilor Randy Rives said. 

He said the city isn’t looking for a Taj Mahal-size building but also not one that needs additions or remodeling a few years after completion.

“It should be designed in a way that can be expanded as we grow over time,” Councilor Elaine Waddill added. “This is a two- or three-year project, at least. This is preparation time. The expectation is we use it wisely, and (residents) can see and understand the benefits of what we’re doing.”

The architects at the workshop toured the city’s current space.

“They’re going to do a study of that campus to see the different scenarios,” Farmer said. “The council has to figure out long-term things, how we’re going to pay for this and how much it’s going to cost.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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