City Hall Move Could Be Decided This Week
Mayor says he's confident council will vote Wednesday to move out of Alpha Building.
Easton City Council will likely vote Wednesday night to move the city's offices out of the Alpha Building and into the new intermodal center.
That's according to Mayor Sal Panto, who told the city's Historic District Commission Monday he expected council to approve the move.
"Council members, at least the ones I’ve talked to, are very supportive," Panto told the commission, which gave its approval to the latest designs for the intermodal project on South Third Street.
When completed the $26 million intermodal will contain LANTA offices (plus an attached bus station), the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and another commercial tenant and—the mayor hopes—the new city hall.
The city will also put in a parking deck that officials say will one day replace the Pine Street garage.
The intermodal is a project that's been worked on by four different mayoral administrations in three different locations around the city, Panto said.
Last month, he announced plans to move city offices into the building, arguing that it didn't make sense to turn over city bond money to a private developer. He has said selling the Alpha building will bring Easton tax revenue that would otherwise be lost by having it remain city-owned.
Four different buyers have come expressed interest in building the Alpha building, Panto said.
The commission also heard from resident and architect Paul Felder, who advised them to go slowly.
“If this becomes city hall, it will become the most important new building built in the city since World War II," said Felder, who teaches architecture at Lafayette College.
Felder told the commission to wait until it knew for sure that the building would definitely become city hall, arguing that the design of the building needed to represent Easton's history as a center for government and commerce.
"I think rushing to approve a building before you know it’s goin to be city hall is really selling the city short," he said.
In the end, the commission split the difference, approving the general concept for the design, but also asking to see some revisions once city council decides the final use for the building.