By Meg Hibbert
Are there changes planned for Salem City Hall, and maybe even a move?
Citizen Stella Reinhart, who lives across Broad Street from City Hall, addressed Salem City Council Monday night during the Citizen Comment period regarding rumors circulating in regards to the city’s administration building.
“We are concerned about what’s going to happen to City Hall in the future,” said Reinhard, who lives across Broad Street from the historic city administration building that once was the city’s high school.
Reinhard distributed a packet to Councilmembers before the meeting. It included a concept drawing she did of how the green space next to City Hall could be expanded and tied in with Salem City Market, creating a town square gathering area.
She said she would like to see pavers crossing from the green to the market.
“I know the building is not large enough for all of the city staff, and some are in other buildings,” Reinhard added.
After the meeting, she elaborated on some of the rumors Broad Street area neighbors have heard.
“We’ve heard the city is thinking about moving to Elizabeth Campus (near the Salem YMCA), that Roanoke College might buy City Hall and move its administration building, and other ideas,” she said.
Mayor Renee Turk thanked Reinhard for her ideas and promised she and Councilmembers would go through the packet.
Ben Early, owner of Bee Early Cab Service, updated Council on the Virginia State cell phone law. He has hired attorney Robert Patterson to present a proposed text for the General Assembly, exempting taxi companies and others from restrictions prohibiting drivers from using business handheld communication devices unique to their businesses.
One of his drivers was ticketed earlier this year for using his dispatch phone. Mayor Renee Turk recognized two Boy Scouts from Pack 39 who were attending as part of the work toward a Communications Badge. They were cousins Brandon Conklin and Joey Conklin, with their leader Trena Carroll.
Under new business, Council voted to donate $3,440 to the Salem High School Band Boosters. The amount is equal to admission tax paid for the annual Drum Corps International Music Games Competition that the SHS Band Boosters sponsors.
Council authorized City Manager Jay Taliaferro to purchase 12.3 acres of the former Dorsey Farm on Mill Lane for a price of $859,649. Taliaferro explained the property is adjacent to industrial development on Southside Drive, and would make it possible for the city to expand that industrial park.
Councilmembers spent almost an hour in a closed session discussing the awarding of a contract, and probable litigation. No action was taken after Council returned to open session. The meeting adjourned at 7:43 p.m.
Four Councilmembers attended in person. Councilman Bill Jones attended remotely because he
was out of town.