PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC)—Petersburg leaders want to sell several buildings, including City Hall. But not everyone's happy about it.
City leaders, who say Petersburg's current City Hall is too small and old to operate efficiently, are looking to sell the building, as well as six other properties, including the City Hall Annex and the Old Petersburg Hotel. Negotiations are in the works, and the deal could potentially generate about $5 million.
There will be a public hearing next week, at which business owners and residents are invited to share their opinions.
“I want to make sure that everybody understands the public hearing Tuesday night is not to address the new City Hall,” said Petersburg City Manager William Johnson.
While city leaders look to sell some of Petersburg's older properties, they also hope to build a new, $20 million City Hall—a completely different project.
Even if the deal to sell the properties doesn't go through, some residents like Karen Graham question if building a new City Hall is the right move.
“You have streets that are in disrepair, you have multiple neighborhoods where sidewalks are in disrepair,” she said. “So it's continual issues like that.”
The city manager says both projects are opportunities to redevelop the downtown area and attract more visitors to Petersburg. Johnson also says the cost won't fall on the taxpayers.
“It's well needed. A lot of other areas have updated things; they're building new libraries and a lot of new stuff in the area,” said Shahid Shabazz, a Petersburg barbershop owner. “So, a place where everybody goes to pay their bills should be updated also. I have no issue with that at all.”
The public hearing on whether or not to sell the city's older properties will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at Union Train Station, 103 River St., Petersburg, VA 23803.
If approved, a new City Hall wouldn't be completed until at least 2015.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond