The project will take five to seven years to complete depending on city finances.
The city’s insurance carrier has been asking city leaders for about a decade to replace pavers at the building that houses offices of city government and the city’s school district. The loose pavers, according to the insurance carrier, pose a safety hazard.
Adkins said in the 2019 city budget, funds will be allocated to begin the exterior renovations.
He said in addition to closing the north drive, the updates will include:
- Stamped concrete in place of pavers
- Fixing the drainage issues
- New and updated landscaping around the building and throughout Donham Plaza
“This was green design with all green materials,” he said.
The city building at 1 Donham Plaza opened in 1976 and houses the city’s administrative offices, The Middletown Municipal Court, police headquarters and jail, and the Middletown City School District’s administrative offices.
Recent national events, including last year’s shooting of a judge as he walked into a courthouse in Ohio, prompted “robust discussions” between Middletown police and the Municipal Court, about building security, Adkins previously told this news outlet.
“We’re concerned that it’s an ongoing security risk … if someone wanted to show up in Oklahoma (City)-style bombing and pull their van up there and get out and blow the building up, it would be easy to do,” Adkins said in 2017.
“You could walk in and shoot people and walk right back out get in the car and be gone. It’s the type of thing that we hope never happens … But we’re always trying to balance that between safety and public access,” he said.
City officials have locked off a number of offices and have started using access cards to enter areas previously open and accessible to the public.
Adkins said police recommended security upgrades about four years ago, such as improving locks and building access doors, which were handled internally. In addition, police have increased security at the city building, including adding more cameras inside the building and in the parking lots.