CHAPEL HILL — It will take nearly $500,000 and up to a year to get Town Hall ready for business again, Chapel Hill officials said Wednesday.
The town also will renovate the Airport Gardens public housing complex directly north of Town Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The complex was flooded in the June 30 downpour that inundated southern Orange County and damaged 18 of the complex’s 26 apartments.
Workers removed the soggy drywall within days but found black mold growing inside the walls that could take another month to remove.
Affected residents have been moved into hotel rooms. Some have signed a liability waiver so they can return home before the work is complete.
“We are preparing a report on the causes of this flooding in both Town Hall and Airport Gardens so we can make improvements to avoid this situation in the future,” Town Manager Roger Stancil said.
The floodwaters that filled the first floor of Town Hall forced workers to remove all the furniture, carpet and the bottom 2 feet of drywall, officials said. The water also damaged the council dais. The estimated cost of cleaning up the 42-year-old building could exceed $400,000, they said. The town’s insurance will pay part of the cost, and the rest could be paid for with money from the town’s savings or by using money set aside for other projects.
The project could take six months to a year, because town officials are using the opportunity to complete a planned renovation of the council chambers.
“Due to the extensive nature of the demolition, it was decided to reconsider the layout design of the business management services area to improve customer service and improve the efficiency of the space,” said Ken Pennoyer, director of business management services.
The Town Hall work will affect these services:
• Revenue Collection: A temporary payment window is on the second floor of Town Hall. Revenue collection services is expected to move to University Square, 123 W. Franklin St., in late August. People paying public housing rents or tax payments should come to this location or pay by mail to the Town of Chapel Hill, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Permit payments made by credit card or check may be taken on the third floor of Town Hall, either in the Planning Department or Inspections Division.
• Council Meetings and Board/Commission Meetings: The Council Chamber, First Floor Conference Room, and Second Floor Training Room are unavailable for meetings. Meetings of the Town Council could move to the Orange County Southern Human Services Center at 2501 Homestead Drive, and meetings of Town boards and commissions will move to other locations including the Chapel Hill Public Library at 100 Library Drive. Check the Town web calendar for more information at townofchapelhill.org/calendar.
• Internal Services: Town staff should continue to come to Town Hall for payroll services, which are temporarily located in the Second Floor Training Room. Information Technology staff are at various locations, and may be reached by internal users via 969-2020 or ITSupport@townofchapelhill.org.