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MAYOR: Why We Need to Move City Hall

The Mayor makes his case in a letter to Malden Patch.

On Tuesday, October 23rd, I went before the City Council to brief them on my proposed plans to relocate City Hall.  I am thankful to the council for agreeing to my suggestion to issue Requests for Proposals (RFP) to explore responses to where we could relocate City government services. 

As many of you know, I have long advocated moving City Hall from its current site. Beyond the fact that it’s difficult to get to and navigate once inside, the capital costs to rehabilitate the building is upwards of $15M and the ongoing operating costs will remain extremely expensive to stay.

If we receive an RFP that meets our needs and the council and I decide to accept them and leave City Hall, we will then begin a separate process seeking proposals for the redevelopment of 200 Pleasant Street. What is important to remember is that this RFP will be based upon resident input gathered from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council grant we received in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

All of these steps are efforts towards achieving our ultimate goal, which is to stimulate economic development and strengthen the downtown businesses.  Situated next to the MBTA's fifth busiest Orange Line stations, I believe the downtown area will be invigorated by the reconnection of Pleasant Street and the removal of the city hall building, giving the nearly 12,000 daily riders who use the Malden Center T Stop much easier access to our restaurants and stores. 

I will update you once we get something back concrete. In the meantime, please provide us with any comments or suggestions at info@cityofmalden.org

Sincerely,

GARY CHRISTENSON
Mayor, City of Malden

Scott N October 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Mayor, this is great! I hope the council does not derail things like they are known for?
Henri Soucy October 30, 2012 at 01:57 PM
The relocation of city hall will transform the city center and is long overdue. The mayor's lead on this move is laudable and he deserves the strong support of the entire community.
Michael Victor October 30, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Mayor this is not the priority. Crime, crime crime. Please stay on one thing and do it right. Nobody is moving business to Malden unless it is safe. Moving city hall is not going to make that happen. This is just another distraction. Rome is burning. Another shooting incident last night. Get your head together and do something and not these happy talk meetings.
JOYCE POST October 30, 2012 at 03:37 PM
DOES ANYONE REALIZE HOW MUCH OUR TAXES WILL GO UP TO HELP PAY FOR THE NEW BUILDING AND TEAR DOWN THE OLD ONE?
Chris Caesar October 30, 2012 at 05:51 PM
No one does, Joyce, because there are no concrete plans and therefore no calculable costs. One thing we do know is that maintenance on the building will also cost a boatload: something in the $10-12 million range.
Michael Victor October 30, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Chris and where did you get your figures? The Mayor needs to focus on Crime and nothing else. Forget all the photo ops etc
Chris Caesar October 30, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Those figures have been passed around for quite some time. You can read them in the budget yourself.
Michael Victor October 30, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Maintenance. Are you talking renovation? The maintenance of city hall can't be ten to twelve mill.
Chris Caesar October 30, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Fair point Michael, I was speaking loosely there. I believe that figure includes maintenance and the necessary repairs to bring the building up to code. If you have different figures I'd be happy to hear them but I have heard both the mayor and city council refer to that amount. Here is more info: http://malden.patch.com/articles/christenson-close-gov-t-center-by-the-end-of-my-first-term-57798bb9
Meggle October 30, 2012 at 08:39 PM
The awful placement of the city hall was the first thing I noticed when I moved here.
david mokal October 31, 2012 at 01:56 PM
The bussiness in the square used to thrive before it was there
Michael Victor October 31, 2012 at 02:22 PM
David the business in the square thrived because there were few malls, no route 60 with all its business. City Hall should move but not at any price. This Mayor needs to focus on Crime. Two more shootings this week, most violent year on record and what is his big focus? He is a good man, but a little lost right now. Seems a little over his head and focused on grandious idea's instead of the nuts and bolts. Again do what you want with it all unless crime is reduced Forget about it.
Gene Pinkham October 31, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Not to mention that about 1/3 of it is wasted space.
Jimmy October 31, 2012 at 06:08 PM
As a former resident who decided to sell at a loss and get out of Malden as soon as we could after: 1)Witnessing countless drug deals in front of my home while my children played in the back yard. 2)Trash piling up in front of my house on a daily basis caused in part by a PAYT program forced upon us seemingly overnight. 3) Countless evenings where police and news helicopters hovered over the neighborhood for hours on manhunts. 4) Calling the police department numerous times to complain about the drug deals only to be told to leave a message on some hotlines. 5) Seeing employees at the corner store making drug related paraphernalia apparently for sale. 6) Weekly gun violence. 7) Twice over the last five years having someone try to get into my wife's car while waiting at a red light around Malden Square after 10:00pm in the Evening. I cannot understand how the current Mayor can even contemplate discussing anything else in public that does not directly impact the gravely serious crime situation in the City. I know there is crime everywhere, but at least please acknowledge the issues and stop with these plans that do not address the crime situation. Along with the teen center and the baseball team, I don't see how this helps. Vacate city call and rent some space in a strip mall on RT60, re-purpose the Tax bag trash to pay for more cops, hire rent-a-cops, put in security cameras, shutdown the orange line station after 9pm. . Good riddance.
Steve October 31, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I agree with Jimmy! Good for you that you got out. My family and I will be out soon but not soon enough! City hall needs to get its priorities in order!
jirkyrick October 31, 2012 at 11:50 PM
The current mayor is dealing with the legacy of the last no show Mayor "there is no crime problem in Malden" Howard. Seems he has done some things about it, way more than Howard (did he take his criminal special assistant with him to Winchester). W need more cops and after hiring them, hire some more and have them patrolling the neighborhoods non stop. No parking unless you are stopped to apprehend perps or for a break. Get enough cops to patrol the neighborhoods at least once every 30 minutes. The city is only 5 square miles .geez.... And get a new chief, he seems clueless about how to deal with these issues
allamericancity1967 November 01, 2012 at 12:21 AM
8 MILLION to build the Senior center, they must have enough room to fit city hall inside....
david mokal November 03, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Allamerican they didn't build it. The structure was allready there. It was a church before. I thought for 8 million it was going to be the Taj Mahall.
david mokal November 03, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Yes the City Hall must go! Open up Pleasant Street. It's good for your psych too cause when you walk down you won't have to run into a brick wall...besides City Hall is haunted with Evil Spirits from all those Evil Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. When that big wrecking ball hits that building I hope the Clergy is there to sprinkle Holy Water. Yes I can see it now, the wrecking ball makes its first smash and that big cloud of Evil Wrong doings will disapate in the skies never to return.
Tony H. November 03, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Same debates time and time again. Yes, demolishing City Hall should absolutely remain a priority to restore the square to greatness. Yes, reconnecting the street will cause more car and foot trips down the street. Yes, this will cause existing businesses to be strengthened and new businesses to open. Yes, crime should be the Mayor's top priority and he should be doing more to communicate this to citizens. What is the status of his anti-crime initiatives, for example? Other than hiring 4 new police officers, I don't think we have a clue. But this said, why are we always hearing from the Mayor and not from the Police on these things? Shouldn't the Chief be making statements recapping what happened and also saying things like "If criminals think they can take the Orange Line into the City, commit a crime, and sneak back out.... I have news for them. We're watching you with undercovers and cameras and we will stop the trains to pull you off."?
david mokal November 03, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The removal is a big plus for the city. Better for bussiness and the people of Malden. At least when we shop at the Square we wont be standing in the Shadow of City Hall like the Wall in East Germany called the Iron Curtain. I remember when it was first built. The roof was leaking all the time. The water flowed down the side of the walls. We all thought it was supposed to be like that.
david mokal November 03, 2012 at 10:02 PM
@ Michael ..That is true..Crime has to be a priority. You cant enjoy anything if your going to get shot at and robbed thats for sure.

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