Friday, February 13, 2009

County moving? Just a little

Yesterday, I wanted to know if county offices would have to move to make room for MMPI's Med Mart plan.

I saw that the county administration building is still standing in MMPI's maps of the Med Mart site, but two smaller buildings next door, where the county leases space, are gone.

So I asked Jim McCafferty, the county administrator, if MMPI wants to tear down the county annex and Chicago Title Building to make room for the Med Mart.

Yes, he said. McCafferty says the county will either move the departments from the two buildings into existing county space, or it will rent new space.

New construction isn't planned. "There’s a lot of vacant office space downtown," he said.

This is good news. It spares the town another big argument about whether to build a new county administration building. In my June article about the Ameritrust Tower, I showed that a new county building would add millions of dollars a year to the cost of government -- at a time the county faces serious budget cuts.

MMPI did say the county administration building could be a site for future expansion. But it could also expand to the north, over the bluff and toward the lake. That at least puts the county building issue off for the future.

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