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Gary City Hall makeover complete

Renovatiwork is nearly complete inside Gary City Hall council
chambers. Workers fixed leaky rore-painted room laid
new carpeting. | Carole Carlson/Post-Tribune

Renovation work is nearly complete inside the Gary City Hall council chambers. Workers fixed the leaky roof, re-painted the room and laid new carpeting. | Carole Carlson/Post-Tribune

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Updated: December 18, 2013 10:55AM

GARY — Sorely-needed renovation work is nearly completed at City Hall and the City Council could be back in its chambers by its Tuesday meeting.

The shoddy shape of the historic building had led Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson to label it an “embarrassment.”

The council has moved its meetings to the Genesis Center for the past couple of months as workers fixed the leaky roof, painted the chambers and replaced carpeting.

“One of the most important things you can do to a historical structure, such as City Hall, is give it the maintenance it needs. We’re excited about it, and we want other people to see it,” said Freeman-Wilson.

“It was an embarrassment to have people come up steps of City Hall and be in peril of falling.”

The council chamber walls are no longer an outdated pink. The new colors in the spacious room are gold and tan.

All four restrooms in City Hall also received makeovers, bringing them up to standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition, all the cracked and crumbling limestone stairs in the 86-year-old building were replaced and the building’s exterior was tuckpointed.

Chicago architect Philip B. Maher, the son of architect George Maher, designed the building in 1927 as the city began its boom period.

“The stairs were cracking, they basically were falling apart,” said Public Works Director Cloteal Labroi of the exterior stairs. “We also had the handrails redone. We have a few more things to do, including fixing the freight elevator.”

With some adjustments through change orders, the repairs totaled about $635,400. The money came from a revenue bond from a downtown tax increment financing district.

Earlier in the summer, the City Council approved an ordinance establishing funds for the $4.5 million revenue bond, appropriated by the Redevelopment Commission in April. The money also went toward fixing heating and cooling systems at the Genesis Center.

Labroi and Freeman-Wilson said an open house for public to view the upgrades will be held sometime in January.

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