Tifton mayor says city hall will eventually move back downtown - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tifton mayor says city hall will eventually move back downtown

The Mayor of Tifton says City Hall will eventually move back into the historic Myon Complex but it has to be structurally safe first.

Just months ago, Mayor Jamie Cater along with nearly 20 city employees packed their bags and moved out of the city hall portion of the complex after it was declared in danger of collapsing. That leaves some people wondering...what's next?

A few months ago, An architect discovered serious structural problems during an in-depth inspection to prepare for a renovation project but that renovation would take a whole lot of money...money that the city doesn't have.

To many, the historic Myon Complex is the cornerstone of downtown Tifton. But a portion of the building is in danger of collapsing. "The only part that is affected is where there is a basement and that just happens to be city hall," said Mayor Jamie Cater.

A few months ago, employees at city hall packed their bags and moved out due to safety concerns and architect came back with a hefty price tag of 4.8 million dollars to renovate and make the building structurally sound. Now some people in the community are wondering about the future of the building. "Our first and foremost goal is to get city hall back up and running as low as we can do it and as safe as we can do it," said Cater.

Mayor Jamie Cater says city hall will be back but not for that much money. "We do plan on moving city hall back in the building at whatever time it is safe to do so," he said.

And he encourages folks to be patient in the process. "To those who say the sky is falling, we are going to do what is right and we are going to make the building structurally sound and we think we can do that for a lot less than that money that was first dished out to us," said Cater.

Local business owners also housed in the Myon complex say they are ready for city hall to come back too. "Hundreds of people are moving away from the Myon to go pay their bills somewhere else," said business owner BJ Smith.

"There was so much traffic that would filter into the other businesses and they are no here they are somewhere else now," said Mark Mclean.

The mayor believes they can bring the city hall portion of the building back to structural  safety for a lot less money. "I hope it will be six months where the funds will be at the level we need them to be," said Cater.

The mayor also encourages folks from the private sector to step in and help which would speed up the process.

The city has enlisted the opinion from another engineering firm but the mayor estimates that it could take several months to get those results back.

Once those results come back the mayor estimates it would take a little over a year to make the repairs necessary to move back in.

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