Approve Final Plans for Town Hall Rebuild - YES
I voted to approve the final plans for the Town Hall Remodel—developed in partnership with the community through an extensive public process over the last two years—and to authorize Town staff to solicit bids from contractors.
Our current estimate (updated to reflect the present volatility in the construction market) is that the project should cost around $13 million, but I will anxiously await to see what bids come back from contractors.
We've spent the last several years carefully budgeting and laying the fiscal groundwork to deliver this major project without impacting other programs or services, but given the state of construction prices, if the lowest responsible bid comes back outside our budget, we have a range of contingencies at our disposal to reduce costs and bring the project back within budget. Building a safe and functional Town Hall on budget remains my top priority with regard to this project.
The project as designed will fulfill an important need for the community, as our current Town Hall is well-loved but dilapidated, and at the end of its useful life. I am confident that the new building is a worthy investment in our Town's physical infrastructure that will serve us well into the end of this century, but I did cast this vote with one notable reservation: there are aesthetic elements of the new building's design that I, as an architectural designer, am not a fan of.
While I pushed repeatedly for what I considered to be aesthetic improvements to the new design, ultimately my fellow Councilmembers did not agree with my opinion, and I recognize that one's opinion of any art—including architecture—is subjective and personal. Faced with the question of whether I would vote to delay an important infrastructure project due to my own personal aesthetic objections, I determined that it would not be in the public's interest to do so, especially given that public comment throughout the process indicated general acceptance of the final design.
I also want to specifically thank the Corte Madera Planning Commission for recommending its own aesthetic improvements to the project, many of which helped ameliorate my original concerns.
At any rate, I am very pleased that Corte Madera residents are getting a public facility that will allow Town staff to deliver the services we all rely on more efficiently and effectively, provide a new space for the community to gather, and be generally attractive. My sincere thanks to all the residents who participated in shaping this project!