Gainesville's new public safety building is almost ready to open, and workers are wrapping up the final move-in steps.
Gainesville Police Department officials plan to have an occupancy permit by the end of the month and hope to move over furniture at the beginning of October, Police Chief Brian Kelly told Gainesville City Council members this week.
"We're working with information technology people to put in the computer system and make sure the network infrastructure is up and running," he said. "I've been told we can get it up and rolling around the first of November."
The city will hold a dedication ceremony for the building off Queen City Parkway in October before police permanently move into the space and install all equipment.
"I pass it every day on the way to work and felt frustration at the slowness of the project, but no project is ever on time anyway," council member George Wangemann said with a smile at a recent city council meeting.
"There's no question that it looks great, and I did see men working out there in 20-degree weather when it was cold."
Progress slowed due to unexpected rainy days, city manager Kip Padgett explained. Work is now being completed inside the building.
"I drove by, and I'm just bragging to my friends," council member Myrtle Figueras said. "I think it's wonderful. I even drove around back to look at it more."
To hold official meetings in the space, the council must change how "city hall" is defined in its charter document and file the change with Georgia's Secretary of State office. To inform the public of the change, the city must publish the notice three times before its first reading.
The charter amendment likely will come before the council Oct. 5 for a first reading, and council meetings could move to the public safety building by Dec. 1.
"The change can't go into effect until we file with the Secretary of State office, and we're giving them four weeks to reply once we submit it," city clerk Denise Jordan said.
Under the "city hall" definition, the council could continue to meet at the Georgia Mountains Center, the Civic Center, Fair Street Community Center and the Frances Meadows Aquatic and Community Center.
The city is seeking bids for the demolition of the old public safety building on Jesse Jewell Parkway, which includes the two-story structure, a one-story gun range and the surrounding parking lot. All potential bidders must attend a pre-bid conference in the public utilities building on Queen City Parkway, and all bids must be submitted by Sept. 23.