By JOHN HOWELL The City Hall Annex, which started off as a police station, was later made into a fire station and all the while was being added to for municipal office space, is going to be leveled. The annex has been virtually vacant since a water line
The City Hall Annex, which started off as a police station, was later made into a fire station and all the while was being added to for municipal office space, is going to be leveled.
The annex has been virtually vacant since a water line in the second-floor offices of the Planning Department froze over a long weekend in January 2018. When city employees returned from the weekend, the building was filled with steam and hot water was splashing from the ceiling in the assessor’s office. Former Mayor Scott Avedisian hastily called in crews to air out the building while relocating most of the offices to the former Greene Elementary School.
When Avedisian resigned as mayor to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Transit Authority, City Council President Joseph Solomon, who became mayor, made relocating the offices at Greene a priority. He picked the vacant Buttonwoods Community Center, which after significant renovations became municipal offices. As for the annex, which failed to meet some building code regulations, Solomon talked of the city winning a significant insurance settlement from the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust that could be used to either resurrect the annex or build a new one.
Solomon never reached a settlement with the trust. Picozzi has.
Picozzi said Tuesday that the trust will undertake the responsibility of demolishing the building and that the city will pay no more than $182,000. The deal includes the trust’s cost of legal fees.
“They were not going to let us off the hook on that,” Picozzi said.
There’s a lot of work to be done before the wrecking ball arrives. Records stored in the annex are already being relocated to Buttonwoods. Members from the tax collector’s office were in their former offices Tuesday removing items. The city’s computer server is still housed in the annex, as is the municipal maintenance crew, workshop and garage, which sustained no water damage.
Picozzi had hoped to save those offices and the garage, but after assessing what it would take, engineers concluded it wouldn’t be practical. As of Tuesday, Picozzi hadn’t found a home for either the server – most likely City Hall – or the city’s building maintenance personnel.