Town of Elizabeth settles into new town hall at former chocolate shop

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Elizabeth’s city offices have a new place to call home, with a new town hall steps from the town’s longtime digs.

The town in February celebrated the grand opening of town hall, and on May 4 added the building to its list for some sprucing up. The new building was among those slated for cleanup during Elizabeth Clean Up day, with a new coat of paint on the exterior handrail that welcomes visitors.

The new town hall is at 151 S. Banner Street, former home of The Banner House chocolatiers. The town bought the bank-owned building for $225,000 in January 2012 and by year’s end, moved town staff into the refurbished space.

“It is fantastic,” said Elizabeth Police Chief Mike Phibbs. “It is a much better facility to conduct town business than we had before.”

The new town hall is less than a block down the street from the former town hall, which served its purpose for more than 30 years. Upon purchasing the new space, the town embarked on a remodeling effort that transformed the former storefront to house the town’s planning department, clerk’s office and administrative functions.

The police and public works departments continue to work out of their respective offices on Main Street and Washington Street.

“The old town hall is over 100 years old,” Phibbs said. “At one time all of the town’s departments functioned out of that building.”

The new building was built in 2004 and is more than 6,800 square feet, compared with the old building at about 2,900 square feet. The new building has an upstairs loft that remains available for expansion, Phibbs said. The parking lot provides off-street parking with access for disabled visitors. Improvements to the drainage in the parking lot will begin this summer.

“We’re very happy with the new building,” Phibbs said.

Facts about Elizabeth’s town hall

Date of purchase: Jan. 24, 2012

Move-in date:  Dec. 14, 2012

Purchase price:  $224,827.87

Remodeling price, including architect fees, contractor and furnishings: $125,172.13

Total 2012 budget for the project: $350,000

New town hall square footage: 6,877

Old town hall square footage: 2,868 

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