It hasn’t changed for almost 30 years, but Tuesday the renovation of Kokomo’s City Hall started in earnest.
Colored panels, to be complimented later by a stainless steel decorative border, were being applied to the red brick exterior of the building. New landscaping and tuck-pointing work will accompany the exterior’s new look.
In about a month, the interior of the building will start to change.
City engineer Carey Stranahan said a new interior staircase will be installed as part of a transformation of the building’s central atrium and public meeting rooms.
All of the theater seats will be taken out of the Kokomo Common Council chambers and replaced with seats that can be moved or removed as needed.
The flooring and lighting in the council room will be changed, and the city clerk’s office will be moved into the council chamber, creating more room in the atrium, as well as space for a vestibule just outside the council room.
“The whole idea is about taking pride in our public spaces,” Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said. “We’ve built three new fire stations in the last 6 1/2 years, and we’ve renovated two others. We’ve made other improvements in our streets and our parks. And City Hall is nearly 30 years old, so it’s getting a little sprucing up as well.”
Goodnight said the improvements are all meant to make Kokomo more attractive in hopes of bringing in new residents.
There’s recent evidence that the strategy is working. This month, preliminary U.S. Census figures showed Kokomo has gained residents since the 2010 census, a fact which defies Indiana University researchers’ predictions of a population loss.
Mawr Design, which has an office in Kokomo, did the design work for both the interior and exterior projects. Monroe Construction, Kokomo, was the sole bidder on the exterior project at $569,000.