TUSCUMBIA — Pings and pounds of construction can be heard in the background as city workers try to go about their normal duties.
Sometimes, those obligations carry an additional responsibility of arranging a time and place to meet with residents and business owners who need to carry out routine city-related errands.
But this week has been far from routine as the city of Tuscumbia moves from the old City Hall on Sixth Street to the new one on the same street a block away.
“We’re in the process,” Mayor Bill Shoemaker said while walking through the building that once housed the downtown post office.
Shoemaker saw signs of progress along the way. A lock system was being installed at one location, while putty was being applied to a wall at another spot.
The big delay for now involves installing an elevator. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations prevent customers from entering the building during the installation.
“It looks like it’ll at least be the weekend or maybe even later before it’s installed,” Shoemaker said.
Phone use is limited while the system is being changed to the new building.
The mayor said it will be worth the hassles once everyone is moved into the building, which is larger and has more storage space than the former hall.
“It’ll all start coming together once the elevator is in,” Shoemaker said. “Right now, we’ve got folks dancing in each other’s way.”
City workers often have to meet customers at the door of the new building or at the old building. They are trying to make things as convenient as possible for everyone.
“We have folks scurrying between the old and new office,” Shoemaker said.
Tuscumbia has been in need of larger accommodations for years, officials said. Shelves, rooms and the basement are filled with records that must be kept, some dating into the 1800s.
The city purchased the former post office building from Harvey Robbins for $129,000 in 2009.
The building was closed in 2004 after a new post office was built along U.S. 72.
The U.S. Postal Service sold the Sixth Street building to Robbins at that same cost in February 2005. The building has about 6,400 square feet, 3,200 each on the main floor and basement.
Council members said the city pays about $1,200 a month in rent to the Tuscumbia Utilities Department for the existing City Hall. The Utilities Department owns the building.
Officials estimated construction costs will be about $600,000. A 10-year, $275,000 loan at 3.5 percent interest is helping with costs. The city also has $250,000 in capital improvement funds for the project.
Shoemaker said the project likely will have an overrun, but oil and gas money received annually will be dedicated toward that expense. The city receives about $70,000 annually from that money.
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.