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South Valley Journal

A new face for Riverton City Hall

Jun 29, 2018 02:51PM ● By Mariden Williams

City planners have designed various concepts, but nothing is set in stone yet. (Courtesy Riverton City)

By Mariden Williams | mariden.w@mycityjournals.com 

Riverton City Hall needs a remodel, and city officials have decided that there's no better time than the present. The place is already hopping with orange cones and construction machines from the neighboring Redwood Road project, so why not add a few more to the mix? 

"It felt like the timing was ideal," said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs at a June 5 city council meeting. "With the improvements to Redwood Road, the timing was right to try and visit some improvements to the frontage." 

Riverton City Hall was built back in 1909 to serve as an elementary school, and between its utilitarian beginnings and the awkward placement of utilities such as the power pole and transformer, “picturesque'” isn’t exactly the first word that pops into mind upon first glance-- or second glance either, for that matter. 

"I'd like to—I think everybody would like to—at least relocate the power pole," chuckled Mayor Staggs. 

Besides relocating the transformer and power pole, some other features up for consideration are an elevated entryway with an arch, memorial bricks, extra parking spots and a waterfall. 

The city planning commission has assembled some sketches and design concepts, but since an overarching design hasn't been decided on yet, the cost isn't decided yet either. The current estimate looks to be around $380,000, which has already been set aside in the city budget, but that's just an estimate. 

"I'm in favor of this, but I would like some more solid numbers," said Councilmember Tawnee McCay. 

"As far as the infrastructure—the curb, gutter, sidewalk, paving—we can nail that down pretty quick," said City Planner Andrew Aagard. "Those are just unit prices. It's when we start getting into the arch and waterfall, those types of things—those are the unknowns." Before city officials can go out to bid on those extra design features, they need to figure out exactly what it is they want to see. 

"I would like to see our final plan look something similar to what we have at the park,” said Councilmember Tish Buroker. “It would just be nice to identify some tie-ins, perhaps to the Old Dome Meeting Hall or surrounding landscaping, "so it doesn’t look like another separate distinct building. What do we have at the park that we could pull over here, so that there's some sense of uniformity? Especially considering the fact that the buildings are both fairly close to each other." 

One goal of the remodeling is to make the building look more official. 

"I think this front, it still kind of looks like a seeder,” McCay said. “It just reminds me of, like, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or something, and we're a city hall. I would like to see something a little more colonial, with some pillars. You know, we're a government office." 

The Riverton Historic Preservation Society has also been weighing in on the design process. City Hall is currently Riverton's only building on the National Register of Historic Places, so maintaining some amount of integrity to the original design is important, even if it's not the most exciting-looking thing on the planet. Being on the Register earns a building significant federal grants for upkeep and maintenance.

There are also grants available for water-efficient landscapes that could offset a big chunk of the remodeling costs, and these have not been factored into price estimates yet, city officials confirmed. 

"The grant from the [Jordan Valley] Water Conservancy District should be the first on our list, because if it's approved, they can pay up to half of that," said Aagard. "We're talking $50,000 to $60,000 in landscaping costs that can be granted through the conservancy district."