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Municipal upgrade

Madison City Hall may undergo renovation
to make use of space

Building has leaking roof,
mold problems, city officials say

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2008) – After spending more than 114 years in a building at 416 West St., in 1994, Madison officials relocated City Hall to 101 W. Main St. At that time, the new building provided ample space and modern facilities to city officials. Today, however, City Hall faces some maintenance issues that include a leaking roof and air quality issues due to mold.

Madison City Hall

Photo by Don Ward

In 1926, the original bank building
on the corner of Main and West streets
was torn down and replaced with the
building that houses Madison City Hall
and the Police Department.

Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong said there are at least four spots in the roof that have caused some water damage and need to be repaired as soon as possible. Unfortunately, early estimates have put the cost close to $400,000 to repair the roof.
“We don’t have that kind of money in our budget for repairs,” said Armstrong. “We have some money in various accounts we are looking at with the State Board of Accounts to see what we can use.”
Officials have not yet discussed whether insurance would cover any of the costs to fix the roof.
Armstrong also said the building needs its ventilation system for heating and air conditioning cleaned out to improve the quality of air in the building. While there are some air quality issues, no one has become ill from the air in the building. “We aren’t even close to that kind of situation,” said Armstrong. “We just need to make sure our air quality is up to standards.”
One factor contributing to poor air quality in the building is a mold problem that has resulted from the leaking roof. Armstrong said once the roof is repaired, the mold problem will get resolved.
The building was built in 1926, according to records compiled at the Jefferson County Historical Society. It replaced an older and smaller building that was erected in 1853 to house the Indiana State Bank. “The building was brick like most of its neighbors,” said museum historian Ron Grimes.
The Indiana State Bank, under the supervision of E.G. Whitney, was the first of three banks to be housed at that location, which was originally referred to as the southwest corner of West Street and Main Cross.
In 1863, Whitney requested a letter from the federal government for an application for a national bank, and on Oct. 24, 1863, the charter was granted. The first stockholders, officers and employees were the same as those of Indiana State Bank. The new bank, The First National Bank of Madison, was the first national chartered bank in the area.
First National Bank and Indiana State Bank operated side by side in the same building until gradually, the nationally charted bank assumed the business of the Indiana State Bank.
The Madison bank, unlike others across the country, managed to survive the Panic of 1873, when New York banks failed and others followed. It survived the American Civil War and the World Wars. During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared an emergency and closed all banks in the country until they could be assessed. The Madison bank was given a clean bill of health and was one of the first in the region to re-open.
In 1976, the First National Bank of Madison was converted to a state bank, and its name was changed again to the First Bank of Madison. By 1984, the bank merged with Madison Bank and Trust an on Feb. 15, 1985, the First Bank of Madison closed its doors for business.
Over the years, the building itself underwent several changes. In 1948, the first expansion took place as the building next door was acquired. It was remodeled in 1962, and again in 1972 it was expanded to include the adjoining building.
Today, the building looks much like it did when it finished serving as a bank to the community. Even the same carpet is still in place from the building’s banking days.
Armstrong said eventually officials would love to remodel the four-story building and use all of its floors. “The building is three-fourths of a block long and four stories,” he said. “It is truly a beautiful building and the potential here for office space is tremendous.”
He said the Madison-based Artful Living Co. is designing plans to better use the available space the building affords.
That would be good news for the Madison Police Department, located in the rear of the building. Armstrong, a former police detective, said that department has had inadequate space for some time now.
Architect Brian Martin, of Artful Living Co, said the city agreed to pay Artful Living $100 an hour for approximately 70 hours of work. The study will go through several processes and a conceptual drawing that maximizes and appropriate space based on specific department needs.

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