Dunedin City Hall groundbreaking

From left are Commissioner John Tornga, Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski, Commissioner Moe Freaney, Commissioner Deborah Kynes and Commissioner Jeff Gow stand by the rendering for the new City Hall.

DUNEDIN — City officials already have a good idea of what memorabilia they are going to put in a time capsule that will be part of their new City Hall.

"A mask is definitely one of them," said City Manager Jennifer Bramley, speaking to the crowd of 75-100 people at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project May 11.

Construction is slated to begin June 1 on the $22.8 million, 38,463-square-foot City Hall at 737 Louden Ave.

"This building that was here has needed to be replaced for a long time," Mayor Julie Bujalski said "We had several studies that told us that. And I'm so proud of this City Commission who said, 'It's time.'"

A study was completed in 2000 that identified the need for a new consolidated City Hall, Bramley said.

What she called the "hard push for the latest effort" to build a new City Hall began in 2018.

An architectural rendering, called "The Wave," was actually the seventh version.

City officials had numerous presentations to boards and the City Commission in which every aspect of the proposed building was discussed, she said.

A total of 20 public input meetings were held regarding the building, Bramley said.

The City Commission in March gave the final go-ahead for the construction of the project.

The building will have an estimated lifespan of 75 to 100 years.

In recent discussions, commissioners and city officials have reiterated the fact that city officials have been working in obsolete, poorly functioning buildings for numerous years.

Commissioner Deborah Kynes said that City Hall should be built for that lifespan so it that it will become a landmark.

"That' what we need. We need to quit building for 30 years," she said.

"It's very exciting and I'm very, very proud to have the colleagues I have on the City Commission and be part of the commission that actually is moving us forward and making it happen. Let's do it," Commissioner Moe Freaney said.

Commissioner Jeff Gow said he thinks other municipalities will look to see what Dunedin has done and again follow in the city's footsteps.

Commissioner John Tornga called it a "win, win, win" for the city.

The new City Hall will include programming space and will have a two-story administrative wing and a single-story commission chambers.

The main lobby will offer a "one-stop" customer service area expected to provide residents convenient access to frequently requested services.

"There's space for our boards and committees to meet, and there is space for our community to gather for special events,” Bramley said.

The building features multiuse, adaptable floor space, energy efficiencies including solar power, a standby emergency generator and four electric vehicle charging stations.

The complex will have public art inside and out, city officials say.

A new parking lot will be built across the street from the new building.

Construction of the new City Hall is expected to be completed in 2022.

Among the attendees was Manny Koutsourais, who was Dunedin's mayor from March 1988 to March 1994.