The original plan for 73,300 square feet of building space has been cut to approximately 37,000 square feet. On the plus side, the smaller buildings and reduced costs will allow for other amenities such as a larger park area and an amphitheater.
The scaled-down version of City Hall will connect the two existing city office buildings and provide additional city offices and City Council chambers. The original plan called for a 24,000-square-foot building, which has now been reduced to 10,000 square feet.
"Due to budget constraints and marketing factors, the city has re-evaluated the uses on site and has determined it is not the most cost-effective approach to construct a 24,000-square-foot City Hall building," a city staff report states.
"The addition will be constructed in front of the existing buildings and will connect the buildings together," the report continued. "The addition will allow city offices to be housed at a central location, including a Council Chambers, as well as the possibility of a new police facility, with additional room for future expansion if needed."
At present, the Oakley Police Department shares space with the Office of the Sheriff at 210 O'Hara Ave. The area previously designated as the site of the larger City Hall is now proposed to be a community park. Two other buildings, each approximately 6,000 square feet, are also planned on the site for commercial and retail use.
During Monday night's lengthy meeting, the council spent considerable time discussing the design of the proposed park.
There was general agreement that the park should not be an active park, such as one with a children's playground, fountains and climbing rocks. A children's park already exists at nearby Oakley Elementary School, making it redundant to have another one so close, noted City Manager Bryan Montgomery in a report to the council.
"I think we need a passive park," said Councilman Bruce Connelley. "It doesn't have to be fancy - just comfy. I don't see it as a destination park, but a place to stop and relax."
Councilman Kevin Romick pointed out, however, that there always will be children playing in the park, and he expressed concern about their safety.
"We need some sort of berm or barrier along Main Street to keep kids from running out onto Main Street, say, if they were chasing a ball or something," he said, agreeing with Montgomery's report, which calls for barriers along the park perimeter.
Council members also agreed that the park should provide plenty of shade for hot summer days, and that the amphitheater include a stage area. They envision it being used for concerts, a farmers' market and community celebrations.
It will provide an attractive component to the Civic Center Plaza and serve as a social gathering spot for visitors. The plan includes shaded picnic tables, but the park will not include barbecue grills.