“We’re not just thinking about safety for employees and citizens right now, but in the future as well. There’s going to be a new way of doing things – for everybody – after this,” Mayor Terry Morton explained. The Mayor recently announced the pending construction of a new drive-thru window built onto Centreville City Hall that will enable people to pay their water bill and otherwise do business with the City without having to have physical contact with City employees. “They won’t even have to get out of their car when it’s raining,” Morton added.
Spurred by the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Morton believes this is an action worth taking, and now is the time to do it. The City of Centreville is under an emergency declaration at city level, which gives the Mayor certain additional powers to get things done in the interest of easing the situation. It also allows documentation of those things being done to have potential to be reimbursed monetarily by federal assistance when this whole crisis resolves.
“If we can get paid back for it, that’s great,” Morton said, “but even if we don’t, the money is there to pay for it.” The project will initially be paid for out of the City’s Capital Improvements Fund, which hasn’t been used in a while, according to the Mayor. “We’ve been saving up and haven’t spent much of it. And that money has to be used in certain ways. We can’t go buy tires for police cars with it, for instance. It’s earmarked. It has to be used for things like this.” How much will it cost? The Mayor didn’t present a guess at this time, as they are collecting estimates for the project now, looking for the best value.
How will it work? The existing window in the Water Department (on the front of the building) will be removed, and a new structure built in that space that extends out to the edge of the parking lot, so that the front steps, flag pole, and other fixtures there won’t have to be moved. A drive lane will enter from the left side of the parking lot, so that a “U” shaped lane will circle the existing parking lot and put the driver’s window next to the building. Handicapped parking spaces will be moved to the right of the front door, and while the number of parking spaces will be reduced, there will still be five or six spaces located in the middle of the parking lot, in addition to the handicapped spaces.
The window may be used for more than just paying your water bill as well, at least for now. “If someone needs to talk to me, or speak directly with anyone in the offices here, we can come to this window. It’ll keep things working while keeping everyone safer,” Morton said.
As to a timeline of completion, that isn’t immediately clear. But, look for it to be done as soon as possible. Landscaping is already being removed in preparation for the addition.