Council votes down extra money for Topeka City Hall renovations

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - After months of back-and-forth, Topeka City Council members have voted down funding for a more extensive renovation of Topeka's City Hall.

City Manager Brent Trout had requested $3.2 million in additional funding for the $8.2 million project currently underway.

The City is in the midst of an upgrade that addresses the building's failing mechanical and plumbing systems. City officials have said the work has lead to major demolition within the building.

In November, Public Works Director Jason Peek presented a design for more extensive renovations since demolition already was taking place. It included relocation and renovation for the municipal court, renovated council chambers, a community dining area, and an entry plaza.

However, the additional $8.9 million price tag drew criticism as extravagant, with too many bells and whistles. Still, some supported it as preserving a historic building, and showing commitment to downtown revitalization.

The council deferred the issue for further study, which led to the amended $3.2 million design that dropped the community space and entry plaza, and left out Municipal Court and Council Chambers. Instead, it focused solely on improving city operations and efficiently using the building's space through things such as shared reception areas and consolidating departments. It also was to improve security.

However, even the scaled-back additions did not satisfy concerns of some council members.

Peek said he did not want to comment on the council's decision because at this point in time, what's next to come is all speculation.