Jacksonville City Hall holds pre-demolition sale

·3 min read

Aug. 5—JACKSONVILLE — Any homeowner who's had to move to a new address knows the feeling: Sometimes it's better to just sell your possessions rather than drag them along.

City officials here are facing that scenario as they look toward an eventual move to a new City Hall, so they're holding a "fire sale without the fire," selling everything including their kitchen sinks.

The ceiling tiles, wall boards and paneling, light fixtures and alarm system are included; literally everything that can be torn out of the wall can be bought, city public information officer Ben Nunnally said.

Much of the stuff was cleared out of the City Hall building on Church Avenue SE Thursday.

What was left lined the walls and lobby area awaiting to be bought, as city staff members greeted guests. Christmas decorations were draped across the council members' podium, and office chairs were grouped together in the main hall. Dishes were for sale from the breakroom the city shared with the city's water department, where "The Andy Griffith Show" would be running most of the time, according to Nunnally.

Folks who didn't catch the sale Thursday will still have a chance this weekend: Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7 until noon.

Though the city fire department has laid claim to repurposing the ceiling tiles, city finance manager Laura Copeland said no one has claimed the sinks yet. She said the city's goal was to sell as much as it can to keep as much as possible out of the landfill.

"We want them to come in. If nothing else, if you just want to walk in and see what we are leaving and just to get a piece of the history," Copeland said.

The building itself, erected in 1969, has its own problems, she said. Toilets leaked into the City Planning and Building department, and Copeland said there were sewer pipes right under her desk so anytime there were plumbing issues, it smelled like sewage in her office.

The building once held a doctor's office before it became City Hall. But come next week, "it'll all be a pile of rubble," Nunnally said. Although it has served the city well, it is now just an anachronistic relic, Nunnally said.

"It's definitely aged and it's been well used, but at this point it just doesn't feel like the Jacksonville we're growing into," Nunnally said. "We're starting to change a lot. We're getting a lot of new bigger businesses. We're growing up a lot."

Demolition is set for sometime next week and could begin as early as Monday.

Potty problems aside, Copeland said she and her fellow staff members shared a lot of growth in the building. She has worked in the building for all of her 15 years with the city.

"When we talk about growing up, that's what we've done. We've grown up in this building," Copeland said. "Brenda, who is the city clerk, came to work for me as an ambulance clerk. So it's been a lot of growth and a lot of training, and we've learned a lot along the way."

Asked if she thought it would be bittersweet to see the building come down, Copeland said, "No, I want to carry the sledge hammer."