The two-story, 15,500-square-foot building will be located at the corner of Jeff Davis Avenue and Second Street, the same spot of the former building.
“Today is a day we’ve looked forward to since the wind stopped blowing after Katrina,” Mayor Billy Skellie said.
The monster storm caused significant water and wind damage to the three-building complex, and the city received money from Community Development Block Grant funds to rebuild. Since the storm, city employees have been working in trailers next to the fire station on Klondyke Road.
The new City Hall will cost $4.4 million and will be ready in about a year.
About 100 people gathered for Thursday’s ceremony, including city, county and state officials. The Long Beach High School concert choir performed before the groundbreaking.
Skellie said he wants City Hall to be the anchor for downtown Long Beach and hopes it will draw other businesses to that part of town.
The building was designed by JBHM Architects, and Starks Contracting Company is constructing the complex.
It will house the water department, building code and zoning offices, city clerk and city administrative offices, including the mayor’s office, civil service commission and city court.
The city also has other ongoing projects important to its recovery from Katrina. J. Levens Builders is working on Jeff Davis, repairing the street, putting in curbs and sidewalks and burying utilities.
Last week, the city broke ground on a project to install water and sewer lines on 28th Street. The $4.1-million project is the first for the Harrison County Regional Water District. The $4.1 million project is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Skellie said Thursday the city likely will break ground in a couple of months on a new fire station on Second Street downtown.
--The Sun Herald, March 20, 2009