Council considering design concepts for vacant first floor of Conroe Town Hall

Designs for the vacant 14,000-square-foot first floor of City Hall were presented to City Council at a January 26 workshop. (Courtesy of City of Conroe and Johnson Design Group)

City of Conroe officials began discussing plans for the vacant 14,000-square-foot first floor of Conroe City Hall, located at 300 W. Davis St. During a city council workshop on Aug. 26 January, downtown manager Frank Robinson and architect Warren Johnson presented the first notions.

The first floor has been vacant since staff moved to the Conroe Municipal Service Center, formerly used by the Conroe Police Department. The staff moved in July to have more space to work, according to Robinson.

Potential ideas presented for the vacant space include a welcome center with a gift shop, dining and seating areas, lounges open to the public and conference rooms available for rent, according to the January 26 presentation. . On the outside of the building, there are plans to redo the walkway, fix planter issues, and add an outdoor patio and porch, according to the presentation.

“The public comes to City Hall to participate in the civic life of the city, and we need a space that works,” Mayor Jody Czajkoski said in a city press release.

Concepts also include potential security upgrades and the addition of a reception desk, restrooms and catering kitchen, Johnson said.

However, some council members have expressed concerns about the cost of the project, which is expected to total around $2.5 million, according to Johnson.

“Town hall is here to run the business of the city, and I think we’re stewards of taxpayers’ money,” council member Marsha Porter said at the meeting. “I’m not sure taxpayers would be in favor of having restaurants at City Hall.”

Council members also expressed safety concerns with vendors and residents at City Hall in the event of a natural disaster.

“This is our center of operations,” council member Duke Coon said during the meeting. “In the event of a natural disaster, we use this whole building, … so safety is going to be very important, whatever we do here.”

Although plans likely won’t be finalized for a year, according to Robinson, initial concepts are meant to create an opportunity to give the public access to the City Hall building.

“We think ratepayers expect our public facilities to be functional and accessible, and when I see what’s happening in other cities, I think we’re on the right track,” Robinson said.

About Octavia A. Dorr

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