KINGSBURG – Kingsburg City Hall, located squarely in the city’s downtown – or, as the locals refer to it, the city’s living room – may be moving to a new location one mile north along Highway 99.
The reason? “We’re just out of room,” said City Manager Alex Henderson.
Plans are in the very early stages. According to Henderson, the site – 2.3 acres, which will be donated to the city – is vacant. The city negotiated a development agreement with the site owner in August 2022. At present, the city is studying the possible environmental impacts of such a move.
“We have been at maximum capacity for a few years. We remodeled a portion of city hall to accommodate our planning and building departments, but there is functionally no more space left at our current location,” Henderson said.
He added, “We view this as planning for the next 75+ years, regardless of the timeline for actual construction. We have to be forward looking in our planning, whether that be for commercial development, housing or in this case, a municipal complex.”
The property is on track to be annexed in April 2024. In the interim, the city will look into potential building design options. It also has to secure funding sources.
NO ROOM DOWNTOWN
Henderson acknowledged the move from downtown may not be popular with everyone, but there is no space available downtown to relocate.
“Currently, there are very few, if any, vacancies on Draper Street,” he said. “If city hall were to relocate, it would offer additional opportunities for commercial tenants in our downtown.”
He also said, “We recognize that our existing location isn’t likely to be viable for the foreseeable future from an organizational standpoint, and the amount of available, suitable property in the downtown core is limited.”
Henderson added that more and more everyday activities are being conducted online, which means there are fewer reasons for residents to conduct transactions in person. He mentioned that utility billing, park reservations, permitting and other city-related activities are available online.
The future city hall would be an 18,500 square foot building. The 2.3 donated acres are part of a 13-acre vacant parcel near Stroud Avenue. Henderson said the land requires work.
“The property we’re looking at is currently inaccessible, but our agreement includes the extension of roadway and other utilities that would free up an additional 13+ acres of (Highway) 99 abutting property,” he said.
Future plans could include mixed-used development – a boon for the city’s property tax revenue.
“We view the agreement as a good way to open up prime 99 frontage for future commercial development,” said Henderson. “(It) can continue the momentum we’ve seen in the Business Park over the past 10 years.”