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What Should Dearborn's New City Hall Look Like?

Dearborn City Council members discussed design ideas this week with Architect Mike Kirk.

It will be at least a year before the City of Dearborn begins to transition into their new City Hall, but discussions about what officials would like to see have already begun.

More: Dearborn OKs purchase of new city hall building

Mike Kirk of Neumann/Smith Architecture met with City Council and Mayor Jack O’Reilly on Tuesday to hear their thoughts on the design, layout and features of the new space. Possibilities include the elimination of private offices for the mayor and council members, creation of more private meeting rooms, plus a more versatile design for the city council chambers and much more use of technology.

The new City Hall will also likely include a “front desk” for all visitors.

“That way, everything occurs more conveniently for (guests) and … we’ll have a lot more security and confidentiality on the second floor,” O’Reilly explained. “If people come in for meetings, they would sign in with a receptionist.”

Councilman Bob Abraham suggested the elimination of private offices for council members, but argued that office space couldn’t be entirely left out.

“There’s very limited use by council members in the council offices,” he said, “but the office staff use them.”

The council chambers, O’Reilly proposed, would no longer have tiered, stationary seating. Instead, the room would be flat and seats could be rearranged, except for a stationary, raised platform where council members would sit during meetings.

Additionally, it was suggested that the meeting space could have multiple microphones and podiums for public comments.

Implementation of a computer system will play a large part in the new design, making much of the city’s sharing of documents paperless.

“Mike (Kirk) is going to develop a couple draft ideas and we’ll bring them back for you,” O’Reilly told the council. “This is our chance to get the flexibility and technology right for us.”

Neumann/Smith is also the lead architectural firm on Dearborn's Intermodal Passenger Rail Station, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

There was no discussion Tuesday of the cost of any construction at the new building, which is located off of Michigan Avenue just west of the Henry Ford Centennial Library.

Likewise, no date was set for when the preliminary plans will be presented to council.

Correction: This article originally stated that Mike Neumann was the architect present. That is incorrect.

Sammy November 29, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Could somebody with taste and class meet with the designer and not hot-headed, emotional O'Reilly? City Hall will now look like Burger King from the inside. Can we also have a drive up window to supersize our tax bill?
Pam November 29, 2012 at 01:24 PM
The old building looked fine. How much is this architect-designed exterior going to cost?
sam November 29, 2012 at 01:26 PM
City hall has been in its location since the birth of Dearborn, and it's in a convienient location. Why move it to the side, to a smaller and less historical building. Spend lots of money for what, oh never mind the money issue, ill just have to pick up an extra shift at work. Has anyone tried to call the mayors office lately? Mr Baydoun the assistant to the mayor will bluntly blow any issues off, too busy dealing with who to screw next but gladly we will pick up an extra shift for our loved city officials. As Neumann the architect picks up contracts left and right making millions and kicking back some, I will humbly sit back and wait for the next circus to come to town after kwammes circus leaves. Yes we get screwed and yes we get our tax moneys worth when the wrath of god finally comes down on the scammers.
Lee Jacobsen November 29, 2012 at 04:03 PM
The new city hall looks fine as it is, blends in with the other newer structures, and is a pleasant transition from the garish police dept with the fake columns in front. No more of that please!! Concentrate on the inside, plan for efficiency, the outside can always be 'prettied up' when we are 'flush' again via some of that 15 trillion future Federal debt Obama money coming our way......
Chris Berg November 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Are you kidding? The city claims to have no money for its citizens (i.e. small pools, closing libraries, etc.) but they have money for this. The city hall, in its current location, has served the city well for a great many years and now, it this time of financial crisis, they want to spend how many millions on an unnecessary new facility. Shame on CIty Council and Mayor O'Reilly.
Moe November 30, 2012 at 04:58 AM
This whole issue is a joke. One of the reasons the Mayor and Council gave for buying a building for a new City Hall was that the current City Hall needs over $5 Million in repairs. This alone is a reason that the Mayor and many on the council should lose their jobs. The only reason the building needs that much in repairs is that they did not maintain it. Through the years they have spent money on their little projects and giving into the wishes of people they feel will get them votes, things like improvement at Camp Dearborn. When they are done with improvements to the building they bought and furnishing it the cost will be well over the cost of repairs to the current building. New signage alone will cost tens of thousands of dollars. One item they don’t mention in the cost is the loss of tax dollars. This new building is now off the tax rolls and that lost revenue should be considered part of the cost of this building. Last year they sold a millage increase on the idea of maintaining services, what we got was a new city hall, new cabins at Camp, a reduced police force, closed pools and closed libraries.
Rich November 30, 2012 at 05:38 AM
"Garish"? Sure glad that you don't live in Europe!
Rich November 30, 2012 at 05:40 AM
"less historical"? - What history?
Rich November 30, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Just a curiosity question. NS is in Southfield. What was wrong with Gafari who is right next door to this place???
Marie December 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Despite Deficit, Some Dearborn Top Officials Got Boosts in Pay By Tom Gantert, published on Feb. 20, 2012
Lee Jacobsen December 03, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Whatever the architecture looks like, avoid brass, copper, etc otherwise the place will be picked apart by salvage folk. Mike, some folk wish we were more like Europe. gar·ish/ˈgɛər ɪʃ, ˈgær-/ Show Spelled [gair-ish, gar-] Show IPA adjective 1. crudely or tastelessly colorful, showy, or elaborate, as clothes or decoration. 2. excessively ornate or elaborate, as buildings or writings. 3. dressed in or ornamented with bright colors. 4. excessively bright; glaring. What are some other 'garish' locales.??
Charlie Terry December 13, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I hope those in charge with transitioning will also relocate the Orville Hubbard statue and Michigan Historical marker honoring him to the new City Hall.

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