DeWitt prepares to build new city hall

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Jack Sznewajs

DeWitt City Council meets in their current city hall to discuss upcoming events and issues pertaining to the city

What comes to mind when you think of a city hall? More than likely, you will picture a big white building with pillars at the front entrance, and a domed roof at the center of the structure. However, for many small towns such as DeWitt, that is simply not the case.

DeWitt’s city hall was built in 1957 and was added on to in 1986 according to the July 2017 edition of the DeWitt city newsletter. Nowadays, the city council, led by mayor Sue Leeming, are looking for a new town hall to call home.

“This is kind of a big deal,” said mayor Leeming. “It’s not very often a small community like ours builds a new city hall. It’s a decision that everyone needs to be in on.”

Dave Hunsaker has been on DeWitt’s city council for 14 years, the longest tenured member on city council. Hunsaker believes that the first step to a new town hall is finding out exactly what their needs are.

“Our city has grown over the last 30 years, but we recognized that city hall is inefficient and no longer capable of meeting our needs,” said Hunsaker. “Our staff prepared a detailed list to specifically identify areas needing improvement and presented it to city council.”

The city council has an idea of what they want out of their new home, but they also want DeWitt residents to have as much of a voice as possible.

“We’ve taken some pictures of city halls in a number of other communities and we have poster boards up over town to be voted on what people like best,” said mayor Leeming. “We want to take what people like out of different ones.”

The plan going forward is to develop a core group, that includes people from all over DeWitt, to help further perfect the new city hall plan. After that, the city council will begin to worry about funding and construction.

“We want to establish a committee that has some of the leaders of the community on it and people in the neighborhood too so they can help convince other neighbors that it will fit in,” said mayor Leeming.

While there is still no timetable for the town hall, the DeWitt City Council knows it shouldn’t be too much longer until the ball finally gets rolling.

“Construction won’t take that long, but the planning will,” said mayor Leeming. “I’m not in much of a rush, but I want to make sure we are doing it right and thinking it through.”