Enforcement to Save Old City Hall

In case you were considering nominating Old City Hall for the Dwell Rethinking Preservation Contest we wrote about yesterday, here’s a little run down of where things stand now.

In December 2010 Old City Hall was deemed derelict based on a crumbling chimney, unsafe steps, insufficient fire sprinkler system and other problems.

Follow-up reports in 2011 confirmed the situation, and showed that while some steps have been taken towards remedying the situation, there are still serious issues to be resolved.

In May of 2011 the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation placed the building on its annual list of most endangered historic places.

Projects to address the remaining issues were supposed to be under way by the end of 2011. As of last week, no plans or permits had been submitted to the City, and the work had not begun.

On January 10th a representative of the building’s owner agreed to a list of projects and a timeline that has the listed repairs wrapping up by March of this year. Along with ongoing minimal upkeep (keep the lights, heat, alarms, etc on), the list includes removal of loose bricks, repair of broken windows, certification of the roofing, along with a resolution of all the repairs listed in the City’s original inspection report. There will also be regular walk-through inspections by the City every 60 days.

Last week’s City Manager’s report on the subject closes with a vague, but threatening conclusion. “Failure by the owner to address the above minimal requirements will result in further enforcement action.” Sounds ominous.

On a brighter note, while exploring the Exit133 Old City Hall archives, we were reminded of the “build-your-own Old City Hall project – and lo and behold, it’s still available on the City’s website. Although the snow is beginning to melt, and this may be the last snow day for this storm, we’ve got the whole weekend ahead of us for craft projects…

Read about building your own Old City Hall, and link to a pdf of the project from our 2008 story: Build Your Own Old City Hall.

Read more about the latest on Old City Hall repairs from the Tacoma Daily Index.


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