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Porterdale buys house for new city hall
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Porterdale’s new city hall will soon have a much homier feel.

City officials recently purchased the 1,527-square foot home at 10 N. Broad St. in Porterdale for $9,000, including closing costs, and will renovate the 45-year-old house to become a new city hall. Money was used from both the water and sewer fund and the general fund, City Manager Bob Thomson said.

Because much of the activity at City Hall relates to water and sewer transactions, the money was able to be used to supplement the general fund for the purchase, Thomson said.

The plan is for the home to house the offices of the city’s four day-to-day employees at City Hall and be the place where residents pay their utility bills.

The existing City Hall, 2400 Main St., will become the city’s municipal building, Mayor Arline Chapman said and “house our municipal court, council meetings and will provide space for other community meetings.” Chapman said people have offered to do an after-school program in the past, but there was nowhere to house the program; the large room in the current city hall could be a fit.

Porterdale Baptist Church owns the parking lot right next to 10 N. Broad St., which will be able to be used for the new city hall.

“We have an informal agreement with the church. We usually have no more than five or six vehicles at any one time parked at City Hall,” Thomson said.

Thomson said initial cost estimates for renovations are around $80,000, but noted the city is only in the initial assessment phase. Thomson said officials believe most of the work can be done in house, with the majority of the cost going to materials; Chapman said the city will utilize the experience of Public Works Director Robert Witcher and code enforcement officer Willie Milligan

Some aspects, including handling the asbestos shingles, will need to be handled by licensed workers, Chapman said. Thomson said the city has an asbestos testing kit and will know more after the testing.

Additional work will include:
- building a small central hallway through the middle of the house to create private offices
- installing new electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and plumbing systems and a new roof

“Care will be taken to preserve the architectural and historic integrity of the house-- as you know the entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places. Old doors, mantles, front porch features hearths, molding, etc. will be retained to the extent possible,” Thomson said.

Chapman said the house has been on her mind for years because she lives across the street from it. Chapman purchased her home in late 2010 and renovated it.

“(The house at 10 N. Broad St.) has been empty as long as I have lived in this house. I kept seeing and thinking about its potential for a community center or some other city building,” Chapman said.

Chapman asked the owners if they were willing to donate the house, but they declined.

The Newton County Tax Assessor’s office had the house and 0.16-acre lot valued at $34,100.