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More choices requested for fixing stairs
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MONROE - The Monroe Board of Public Works wants more options after hearing a proposal by McGowan Architecture to fix the front of City Hall.

Though the city has been mulling over a number of choices for a complete remodel of the building, during a Common Council meeting Jan. 19, members agreed to explore project costs for basic replacement of the crumbling front steps, railings and cement.

Plans outlined include replacing cement, railings and staircases leading to the building. McGowan Architecture's proposal, presented Monday, includes a number of designs to provide construction specifications; it also includes plans to review zoning, building codes and verify existing conditions of the building.

McGowan estimated the project, which also includes additional signage and indicators for visitors, will cost $11,000.

Interim Director of Public Works Al Gerber said if there are more design plans, the drafts should ease costs and avoid foreseeable problems. To meet current standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the more work that is done, the more renovation may have to be added to compensate for the changes, he added. Gerber estimated that the remodel will total between $100,000 to $150,000.

Alderman Michael Boyce said he would prefer to provide parameters of cost and have more than one option to review before deciding to move forward with the McGowan outline.

"I'd like to ask for options rather than just give him a blank check," Boyce said.

He added that if three options were outlined with an escalating total capped at $150,000 for the overall project, it would be better than giving McGowan Architecture a "blank slate" without parameters on cost.

Fellow alderman Charles Koch said "it does seem like a lot of money," and was in favor of seeing more than one option from the architect. He added that he hoped either way the planning would be beneficial because it could eliminate the need for change orders, which could add to the total cost.

The board moved to ask for a scope of services from McGowan with multiple options not to exceed a certain amount. City Administrator Phil Rath and Gerber agreed to meet with the firm to outline parameters.