City Hall Relocation Moves to City Council Docket

Aug 21, 2018

A view of the back of the current city hall building along Main Street
Credit Stu Johnson

A proposal to convert the Lexington Herald Leader building into a city hall government complex remains in play, but just by the slimmest of vote margins. 

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was called upon to break a tie vote during Tuesday’s meeting.

The much discussed lease to own proposal calls for the city to spend five million dollars annually for 35 years.  The repurposed newspaper site would include a police station and parking garage.  The Main and Midland location is several blocks away from the center of downtown. In expressing his support, Council Member Bill Farmer used an analogy to the Andy Griffith Show’s fictional town. “You know, in Mayberry, it was easier.  You knew where the city hall was, you knew where the sheriff’s office was, you knew where Floyd’s barber shop was.  You knew what went on there.  This is not Mayberry anymore.  We have changed.  We continue to change,” said Farmer.

Opponents argue that an ongoing concern in cities is always traffic congestion.  Council Member Jake Gibbs believes hundreds of city workers coming and going at roughly the same time would create a problem.

“There are some improvements to be made, but this intersection is a disaster,” noted Gibbs.

Council Member James Brown said other options for a new city hall need a more thorough review before making a decision.  The vote yesterday was not the final verdict.  The matter must still be considered as a regular docketed item at a future meeting.