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Al Key

Oak Point moves into new City Hall

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
Oak Point public works supervisor Martin Almaraz puts finishing touches on the parking lot in front of the new City Hall on Thursday.Al Key
Oak Point public works supervisor Martin Almaraz puts finishing touches on the parking lot in front of the new City Hall on Thursday.
Al Key

Oak Point’s new City Hall needs a few minor touch-ups and some landscaping work before it’s completed, but city officials couldn’t wait to move in and conduct their first council meeting this week.

City employees said they are relieved to be in a permanent building, instead of the portable structure that housed city offices for about two years. The new building, which smells of fresh paint, sits on the same lot as the previous city hall, at 100 Naylor Road.

Work crews from Snyder Construction completed the facility, which cost approximately $485,000, earlier this month — about two weeks ahead of schedule. The building replaces the trailer that officials had used since demolishing their previous facility in September 2009, City Manager Douglas Mousel said.

“Sometimes looks aren’t everything, but when new residents and developers come into the area and see that you don’t have a city hall, it can create a bad impression,” he said. “It was a good temporary location, but we’re happy to be here now.”

The 4,200-square-foot building includes a central reception area for city officials and an office for a Texas state trooper. It also includes a large conference room and an information technology room for computer and phone equipment.

The building also has a small conference room that can be converted into an office for any future growth. The building was funded by the city’s capital projects fund and did not require the city to issue debt or increase its tax rate.

Before construction of the new building, Oak Point officials evaluated several options for addressing problems with the previous city hall, but water and mold damage forced the city to demolish it.

Since then, Oak Point officials operated in a portable building that failed to meet the city’s zoning and building code requirements as well as deed restrictions for the property.

Options considered during the past two years included renovating the old city hall, remaining in the portable building, and acquiring an existing structure to use as City Hall. However, those options were not selected as preferred options because of several factors, including cost, timing and long-term practicality, Mousel said.

“It’s nice to finally be in here,” City Secretary Amy Bockes said. “This is a great building, and it just looks great. We’re all pleased.”

While the new City Hall is already open, officials will hold a grand opening at 7 p.m. Oct 1. During the grand opening, Mayor Jim Wohletz will give a State of the City report in the council chambers.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail is .