MARSHALL — A lot has changed at Marshall’s City Hall over the past year — the whole building has had a makeover inside and out, and entire city departments have changed office locations. But the changes should help make it easier for members of the public and city staff to work together.
“We’re happy to see people come in. We’ve had a pretty good flow of people,” Marshall community education coordinator Amanda Beckler said Tuesday afternoon.
City offices moved back into the renovated City Hall on Main Street last week. After setting aside Monday for setting up needed equipment like printers and fax machines, city offices were up and running, and the doors at City Hall were open to the public Tuesday.
While the renovations at City Hall took care of many issues with the Marshall municipal building like leaks and failing heating and cooling systems, they were also geared toward making the building friendlier to the public, said Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson.
“The first thing people will notice is they’re not entering City Hall through a ramp,” she said.
The entire main floor of City Hall was lowered about 18 to 20 inches to make it level with the rest of Main Street. The city council chambers, and some of the city’s most public-facing offices, were all placed on the main floor, to make them easier for the public to access. Windows for both Marshall Community Services and the city building department are some of the first things you see as you enter the main lobby.
“We’re a department that sees a lot of traffic. It’s good to be able to greet people,” Beckler said of Marshall Community Services’ new location.
“It’s really nice,” said Chris DeVos, office assistant for the building department. “When people come in, you see them right away.” Besides being able to have that face-to-face contact and help people more quickly, DeVos said it was nice that the new office location had plenty of light and windows.
While the new building design was more open, it’s also had security updates, Hanson said. The rear alley entrance to City Hall will no longer be open to the public. Visitors will need to enter through the main doors on Main Street.
One new addition to the City Hall offices is the Marshall Economic Development Authority office. EDA Director Lauren Deutz said it was good to move close to other city departments, and have the chance to collaborate with city staff more. She was also looking forward to being able to bring visitors into the renovated offices.
“It will be really exciting to bring people in,” Deutz said. “It gives a good first impression of Marshall.”
Hanson said she has gotten questions from the public about how much more space there was in the renovated City Hall. But the renovations didn’t add too much to the existing building footprint, she said. The front wall was moved out only about 15 feet. City Hall feels different now because the new design makes more use of the square footage, she said.
“We are very happy,” Hanson said — and more importantly, the community will be happy with the new City Hall, shesaid.
The city plans to have a ribbon cutting and open house at City Hall during Crazy Days. The open house will be from 4-7 p.m. July 15.