Now the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, the building at 101 S Pinellas Ave is the former Tarpon Springs City Hall. The current City Hall inhabits for the former Tarpon Springs High School.
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Commission revealed plans to renovate the 102-year-old former City Hall building on South Pinellas Avenue.
The topic was addressed during the public comments section of the Aug. 15 City Commission meeting by former Mayor Anita Protos.
“I was driving through town the other day [and] I saw our historic old city hall,” Protos said. “Those were the old days. Our forefathers made that city hall. It is in bad, bad shape.”
She recalled the days when what is now the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center was City Hall. That was prior to the 1986 move to the building on East Pine Street, which originally was the home of Tarpon Springs High School.
When the cupola-topped building on South Pinellas Avenue was City Hall, commissioners used to leave the windows of their second-floor meeting room open and yell the results of their votes to people listening from the street below, Protos said.
The frames of those windows are now rotting away.
It is this history, and these memories, Protos doesn’t want to lose. Constructed in 1915, the red-brick former City Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We need to start working on city hall,” Protos said. “It’s almost past the point of no return. We’re losing. Let’s not lose our historic significance.”
Almost immediately after Protos finished speaking, Mayor Chris Alahouzos asked City Manager Mark LeCouris to brief her and other residents on the future of the building.
“The plans are 95 percent done,” LeCouris said.
In the proposed city budget for fiscal 2018, which begins Oct. 1, “Cultural Center Building Improvements Exterior,” are listed as a budgeted Culture and Recreation project.
The $650,000 project, funded by Penny for Pinellas money, is meant to make the facility more efficient.
LeCouris said the city should be ready to get going in October, to which he received a thumbs-up from Protos.
The only other request from the former mayor was to bring back the grass and landscaping around the building.
“I’d be prepared the cut the grass if you want me to,” Protos said.
The City Hall building on East Pine Street, built in 1926, underwent extensive renovations in a multiphase project that began in 1986 and ended in 2004. In addition to city government offices, the building is home to the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.