Resident creates petition, opposes City Hall move
Graham resident and Noon Lions Club member Elton “Monty” Montgomery spoke for 16 minutes at the Graham City Council meeting about his opposition of the move of City Hall to the American Legion Building and presented a petition asking the city to delay the move.
Montgomery spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting where the public is typically granted five minutes to speak to city council members without a discussion or action from the council, however the issues could be placed on a future agenda. The council did grant Montgomery an extra 10 minutes to speak and another minute at the end to wrap up his statement.
“My purpose is to see that the city does not destroy the meeting room in the American Legion Building,” Montgomery said. “Now, I know you are hardworking, well-meaning public servants, but I want you to understand and appreciate that when you destroy that meeting room you are not just man handling the building, you are hurting people in your town.”
He said the idea that you must destroy a city asset in order to create a new one is not well thought out and council members should think how a meeting room helps the preservation of the downtown square. Graham Chamber of Commerce and Conventions and Visitor Bureau CEO Krisa De La Cruz said the American Legion Building had been rented out 1.72 times a month in the last three years.
“The city council now tells us that our great town can no longer afford both a City Hall and a meeting room in the American Legion Building, so we must destroy the meeting room,” Montgomery said. “… The present course of action does not save the city money, it is false economy.”
Mayor Neal Blanton and City Manager Brandon Anderson said in a previous interview that the need for the move is because the current location is limited, has difficult parking and the office is not safe and current under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements placed on municipalities.
A preliminary floor plan created by both Director of Public Works Jason Cottongame and the company was approved by the council in late May. Anderson has previously said the move to the building was made to the city owned American Legion Building to not put a burden on taxpayers. The city manager said in a May meeting that the estimated cost given by BYSP Architects was around $220,000 and the city of Graham had received an offer for a grant of $300,000 if all the approvals are made to move.
For the rest of the story, see the Saturday, July 13 edition of The Graham Leader.