Winchester City Hall will soon have a new home in a historic building on the downtown square.
On Wednesday, the city counsel voted unanimously to purchase the old First National Bank building and an adjacent building for use as a new City Hall. The move will give the municipal offices more room with space in the old bank building, while the adjacent building next door will be utilized for counsel meetings.
Mayor Rex McIntyre said the project is a win win for all involved and detailed the progress.
“Another big advantage of this is it would give us a lot more room down where we are now, for our police department and fire department. We have already signed the contracts and are in the process now of getting the title insurance done, title inspection. We are kind of trying to expedite it a little bit. We are hoping to be in there by the first week of September.”
McIntyre said that the buildings are in very good shape and will not require extensive work, citing renovations that were completed prior to the bank moving.
“We are going to go in and do some work. The counsel has agreed to volunteer their labor, and we are going to just go in there and do most of the work ourselves. The one room where we are going to have meetings, we are going to go in there and probably put new carpeting in that room. There’s not going to be any major repairs or renovations to the building, just clean it up and mostly paint and carpeting, and a little bit of elbow grease. It shouldn’t cost a whole lot to get it ready for our use.”
Municipal offices such as the Utilities Director will all relocate to the new site for ease of work flow and better public access which includes more parking and handicap accessibility.
McIntyre said that he hopes that the increased foot traffic will help the businesses in the immediate area.
“That building is an iconic, historic building in Winchester, and I think it’s going to be a really good addition to the square to have the City Hall there. I’m hoping that people come in to do business with City Hall, pay their bills, you know, whatever they are in there for. I’m hoping while they are there they will do business with the adjoining businesses close by and help everybody out.”
Mayor McIntrye said that adjacent businesses noticed a drop off in sales after the bank closed approximately 8 to 10 years ago.