New mayor, city hall propel Marysville into new year

Marysville Deputy Treasurer Jessica LaFore stands outside the city's new building.
Officials in Marysville will start 2020 with a new home, when the doors officially open on their new City Hall building, after a year of construction and five years ahead of Marysville's 100-year anniversary.

The building, which is just down the street from its previous post at 1111 Delaware Street and aligns with the Fire and Police departments, the library, and other city buildings, will feature a spacious suite for city council chambers, meeting rooms, offices, storage and more.

"It's really exciting," says new Marysville Mayor Wayne Pyden.

"I applaud the mayor and the City Council for making the right decision to move forward on a new building, one that will last 50 years or more," says City Manager Randy Fernandez.

The old building sold to the Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) of St. Clair County for $450,000. RESA previously leased the top floor of the building from the city, but will now own the space in its entirety.

Crews take a look at the final details while finishing up work at Marysville City Hall."We've outgrown our building on Range Road," says RESA Superintendent Kevin Miller. "I was looking for options when Fernandez just happened to see me at a Blue Meets Green meeting and asked if we might be interested in their city building."

Miller and Fernandez say they worked together to lease the second floor through 2019 until the new City Hall was completed, and then RESA had the option to purchase the whole building outright.   

"This is an example of two public entities (a city and a school district) working together on a mutually beneficial project," says Miller. "The city worked with us to lower the price to allow us room in our budget to make some needed upgrades at some point in the near future."

RESA currently has 12 early childhood employees and five digital media specialists occupying the second floor of the former City Hall building.

"We also have a nice room for early childhood ‘play groups' that we host several days a week," says Miller. "We'll be moving our growing Special Education Behavior Intervention staff into space on the first floor and using the former city council chambers as professional development training space for Early Childhood and Special Education."

As for the city, the building was just too much and needed too many updates.

"1111 was really too large for us," says Pyden.

Some of those updates included the windows, which staff sometimes covered with plastic sheeting to keep the draft at bay.

"That was just one of the concerns," says Pyden.

He also says that the second floor was going widely unused, save for a few larger meetings, and that the city was not able to utilize the building to its entirety.

"Then RESA stepped in, and they had more of a need for the space than we did," says Pyden. "And the [previous] city council worked out a deal and decided to build a new building."

He says that city officials are looking forward to the new space.

"It is energy-efficient, and encompasses something the city is interested in, which is history."

That history includes displaying key artifacts in the main lobby, like the Wills Ste. Clair car and a Gar Wood boat, Marysville officials are ready to move into their smaller, more efficient city building.manufactured in the early 20th century in Marysville.

"It's really sharp-looking," says Pyden.

Other artifacts could rotate with current displays, and things such as electrical outlets can be added if need be, as well. He also says that there is room for growth in the next 10-20 years if there is ever a need for expansion.

"It's not the Taj Mahal," says Pyden. "It's modern, and everybody did a great job. We were on time and on budget."

Some of the energy-efficient details include using a lot of natural lighting, reupholstering chairs from the old space, and using boulders and other supplies that the Department of Public Works already had on hand for landscaping.

"The only new furniture we are buying is a conference table with chairs," says Fernandez. "We are moving all the rest of our old furniture into the new building."

Fernandez says that the new ranch-style building is "functional, and meets our needs. It's a no-frills building. It was designed to meet our needs."

He says the old space is around 15,000-square-feet, and the new building is 8,000, with room for expansion.

"It was time," says Fernandez. "We were heating that huge space, and cleaning it, and it hasn't been used. The new City Hall will function as a City Hall and a museum-type area. It's a good fit for the campus."

Pyden says that officials were hoping to close the old building the day before Thanksgiving, with staff taking their things to the new property the Friday after. Then DPW officials will begin moving furniture the following Monday.

"I should say ‘weather-permitting,' says Pyden. "Since our Winter Wonderland came early. But that is the game plan. Hopefully it will all fall into place."

All sides seem to agree that this was the best move that the city could make.

"We're thrilled to get additional space about one mile from our current location at pennies on the dollar of what it would have cost to build additional space," says Miller. "This was truly a win-win for RESA and the city of Marysville."