Vigil

More than 300 people gather outside Gainesville City Hall to listen to Commissioner Harvey Ward Jr. speak about the Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacy rally and encourage people to get involved with their community.

Gainesville City Hall may finally be able to fix its leaky windows in 2019.

Renovations to City Hall passed as part of the 2019 budget Thursday night. The budget allocates $2.9 million for the improvements, but it will happen over time, said Chip Skinner, a city spokesperson. There are no finalized plans for the renovations yet, he said.

“It's all a preliminary wish list,” he said.

The next step is to make a plan of action and address the most pressing items first such as windows that leak during rainstorms and the roof, he said.

“It all depends on availability of contractors and getting bids and plans in place,” Skinner said. “There’s a whole number of items that have to happen before renovations start.”

Before renovations can begin,the budget needs a second reading which will occur sometime later this month, likely at the next commission meeting, Skinner said.

City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos hopes the renovations will include expanding the basement meeting room. He’s noticed that the room is too small to fit all the attendees during General Policy meetings. This often leaves people spilling out into the hallway or sitting on the floor.

City Hall was designed for a city half the population of what it is now, which is just over 132,000,  according to the 2017 United States Census Bureau. This renovation should be seen as a way to better serve the community, Hayes-Santos said.

“I think it's important that everyone can have their voice heard and be able to participate,” he said.

Contact McKenna Beery at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mckennabeery