Seaford moves forward with designs for city hall building

By Tony E. Windsor

Preliminary plans have been approved and the concept for a new Seaford City Hall seems to be on a fast track to reality. During the Tuesday, Aug. 13 meeting of Seaford Mayor and Council city Director of Operations, Charles Anderson presented preliminary site plans for the project. Anderson said the new 8,000 square foot city hall building would be located on the northwest corner of High and Market streets adjacent to the current City Hall Annex. The single-story building will have a basement and face out to provide a view of Gateway Park and the downtown business district. The architectural design includes a lobby that runs through the entire building and office space that is positioned around the exterior of the building to enable window access for personnel. Other space in the internal areas of the building will house file areas and the City Council Chambers. Anderson said American Disabilities Act requirements have been met with a handicap ramp accessed from the side of the building. The building will be equipped with a covered brick porch and a drive-through window for payments of municipal utility bills, including electric and water and sewer. There will be enough parking available for 39 vehicles and motorists will be able to access the parking lot from either Arch Street or Market Street, however the drive-thru will only be accessed from Market Street. Council expressed concerns that at times the traffic along Market Street at the intersection of High and Market streets may back up and block the entrance to the drive-thru. Seaford City Manager Dolores Slatcher explained that there are two ways this issue could be addressed. One way would be to adjust the timing of the traffic signal, however, by doing this is could affect the traffic flow along High Street. The other, more suitable option is to place signs along the entrance that warn not to block the entrance. I think the only time we may be experiencing a high volume of traffic at the drive-thru would be the once or twice a month that we have disconnect days. At these times we sometimes do have extremely large numbers of people who come in to have their utilities turned back on. But, overall I think we are not looking at the type of traffic that would utilize a bank drive-thru. We are just taking cash transactions from city utility customers. I think we could encourage customers to have their checks and stubs ready to help move the line more quickly, she said. It was also expressed that perhaps on days that there may be heavy volumes of drive-thru traffic, such as the disconnect days, traffic entering the drive-thru may back up and spill out onto Market Street, creating an additional traffic hazard. Councilman Ron MacArthur suggested that during the high traffic days, the city may determine that reconnect transactions cannot be done at the drive-thru and must instead be taken inside the building. Slatcher agreed, saying the city would still have the night deposit box which enables customers to drop bill payments off after hours, however those people seeking to pay reconnect fees would have to do business inside the building during normal business hours. I think it was considered that the drive-thru window may end up being problematic, however, it was also felt that the drive-thru service is the type of customer service that was worth the extra effort, she said. The council voted to approve the preliminary site plans for the new Seaford City Hall building.

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