After several years of pouring over concepts, considering locations and finding funding, the City of Farley will be hosting an open house for its new Municipal Building located on 206 First Street North June 5 from 2:30 -4:30 p.m.
Farley Mayor Jeff Simon said this building represents the culmination of a lot of hard work from various people and will serve the community well for years to come.
The council began toying with the idea of a new building to house city offices and the police department when Dr. Ryan Stuntz, of Farley Dental Center, approached the city about expanding his business.
The Farley Dental Center had shared half of the former Dubuque Bank & Trust building with the city since 2005.
“The expansion represented economic growth for the downtown area, but was also an opportunity to create a municipal facility that would better serve the community now and many years into the future,” Simon said.
After the idea started garnering a lot of positive feedback, a building committee was formed and it began soliciting input from the community and gathered ideas from other municipalities.
As the concept advanced, the city then interviewed multiple architects and settled on Martin-Gardner from Marion, viewing the company as the best fit for the project.
“We wanted a facility that was functional and would aesthetically fit within our downtown,” Simon said. “This building represents our community’s seat of government and we wanted our citizens to be proud of it.”
The council considered four different locations for the site of the new building and ultimately settled on the J&B Feeds property as it was located next to the public works building, Memorial Hall and the fire station.
In the new building, the city administration portion includes offices for the city administrator and mayor, a third office, a workspace and desk, counter and service window. The city followed the advice of their architect concerning safety trends in public buildings in installing a bulletproof service window for visitors to conduct routine city business.
The council chambers, located in the center of the building, makes use of tables as opposed to the permanent large council table used in the old building. The decision will allow the room to be reconfigured for other meetings by city boards, local organizations or other purposes.
The building also features a fireproof records/storage room and break room.
The Farley Police Department will have its own entrance in the back of the building, but it is connected to city offices by the break room hallway. The police department has an entryway and lobby with desks for part-time officers and future full-time staff. In addition to the chief of police office, there is a bathroom with lockers and shower, an evidence room and an interrogation room that connects to the two-stall garage.
To make use of all the space the building has to offer, the city will also provide room for the Farley Historical Society to display historical items.
While the historical society has big plans, Simon said some aspects were delayed due to the pandemic restricting people from getting involved in the development of the space.
“We want to make local history entertaining and meaningful for people of all ages,” Simon said. “For those old enough to remember, there will be a few surprises that will definitely be an ode to Farley’s past. QR codes to further expand on displays and a large screen TV to view anything from presentations to live broadcasts are also being considered.”
The new building will also have a gathering place for local organizations and a kitchenette that would be functional for meetings as well as serve to display or demonstrate antique kitchen utensils, etc. The display cases within the room resemble storefronts with one case constructed from brick from the former St. Joseph’s grade school. There is also a small building within the room designed to resemble a depot to pay homage to the town’s railroad-related origin.
Additionally, the community room across the hall from the council room can be used conjointly as needed for special events or programming. The hallway also connects the public restrooms and a storage room/office space for the historical society in which to archive and accept historical pieces donated or on loan from the public.
The front lobby connecting the hallway with the council chamber and city offices is large enough to accommodate special events or exhibits that local organizations might want to someday host.
“We tried to think of ways this building would serve our community now and in the future. We did our best to meet as many needs as possible and I feel people will be very happy with it,” Simon said.