“Only time will tell whether our judgement in doing this is strong or not,” admitted president Richard Kirkner before breaking ground on the controversial new $5.59 million borough hall he and .
On Monday night at least, their judgment looked sound.
In a June 18 ceremony attended by a who’s who of local political and civic leaders, Phoenixville celebrated the groundbreaking of the 20,000 square foot complex that will hold its public meetings, police department, and jail for what officials hope will be decades to come.
“I think this project is just a further exemplification of the revitalization [of Phoenixville] continuing,” Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello told the small crowd–whose attendees included representatives from the offices of US Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), state representative Warren Kampf (R-157), and state senator Andy Dinniman (D-19), as well Kampf’s Democratic challenger Paul Drucker.
“My only lament is that it wasn’t held on a First Friday,” joked fellow commissioner Terrence Farrell.
Despite some rumblings that the planning of the hall was rushed, the borough council has maintained that the timing was just right. Kirkner said that the low cost of labor and even lower interest rates–the borough’s bond is priced at 2 percent for the next decade, moves to 3 percent in 2022, then graduates from 3.125 in 2030 to 4 percent by 2037–made now the time to build.
Borough council west ward representative Dana Dugan said she was honored and proud to see what was long an ambition of the council become a reality.
“It belongs to so many of us,” she said, giving special recognition to the past councils who she said laid the groundwork for the new hall.
“We will now have a borough hall fit to represent the beauty of our magnificent borough,” Dugan added.
Middle ward representative Jennifer Mayo called the groundbreaking a major milestone for the community.
“It shows the world that we have truly risen from the ashes of a bygone era and into a wonderful and bright future,” she said.
Council vice-president Michael Speck, after recognizing members of the Phoenixville volunteer fire department who were in attendance, hinted there might be more to come.
“Hopefully fellas, in a few years we’ll be at a groundbreaking celebration for a new fire station.”
The hall was funded by an $8 million dollar municipal general obligation bond the council voted to secure in 2011. Of the $2.41 million remaining after the hall’s bill, $1.3 million was used to finance old debt and the rest will be put towards water and waste-water system improvements.
The complex is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013.