Union Gap City Hall could soon be demolished

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Union Gap City Hall could soon bite the dust. Councilmembers voted last night to get rid of the asbestos in the building and demolish it. But, some leaders worry the decision comes too soon. KIMA learned whether Union Gap is closer to a long-term answer for a new city hall.

In a 4-3 vote, council dropped the hammer on the old City Hall. Members approved a bid to remove asbestos from the building on Ahtanum Road, as well as plans to demolish it.

"We've looked at the options and feel like now's the time to move on," said Union Gap City Councilmember, Dave Butler.

The public works director told KIMA work could begin as soon as winter. That would force council to find someplace new for its meetings again. Councilmember Mark Carney voted against the demolition plan.

"There's no real 'plan' to go forward."

Carney thinks the existing building should be remodeled for the city to use at least another 20 years. He says Union Gap could use the time to save money for a new building.

"I think this is a good old building. I mean, it just needs a little bit more upkeep, a little bit more work."

Architects hired by the city say a minor remodel would cost roughly $700,000. A major one -- about a million. A new building would cost at least $2 million.

Councilmember Dave Butler says it's time for something new.

"We're in the process of revitalization of Main Street. So, I feel this is a good opportunity to maybe put the city hall campus next to Main Street, so we can start that beautification process."

That process includes yet another study of what it would take to build a new, two-block civic campus. Council already approved that study in June.

Carney wants a public survey to find out what people want to do with City Hall. At the moment, it looks like the troubled building will go away for good. What will come next is still a guess.

Union Gap City Hall has been closed for more than two years. Most city employees work across the street.