Manassas Journal Messenger 2/12/01



ponders chamber changes


Chris Newman




MANASSAS PARK – As the Manassas Park City council considers renovations

to its council chambers, the choice is between a budgeted option that would

expand the chambers adequately versus a more-expensive plan that could be

a longer-term solution.

The city’s capital improvement program calls for expanding the city

council chambers in 2003 and 2004. The room has proven inadequate for city

meeting needs. At last week’s council meeting, some council members said

the project needs to be done sooner than planned.

“The room is small and we all realize whenever we have something

termed ‘controversial’ we have people standing out in the halls, sometimes

not being able to hear what’s being said,” said Councilman Kevin Brendel.

He said the city should relook at the budget to see how the project could

be sped up.

A first option would cost $48,000 and falls under the budgeted amount.

It would expand the current chambers’ space from allowing 35 seats to 70

seats and give the room an auditorium layout. The ceiling would be raised

16 inches at most, said City Manager David Reynal.

But Councilwoman Fran Kassinger questioned whether the money would be

better spent on one of the two options that would utilize the rear of City

Hall, which would solve the city’s needs for the foreseeable future.

“I agree we need to add seating capacity,” Kassinger said.

“I just don’t want to see us put money down the drain” on a project

that would then be replaced.

The two more expensive options at $127,000 and $98,000 would provide

for a lobby to the room, a higher ceiling for more appropriate auditorium

sizing, and 96 to 110 seats for the audience. These options would be several

years off because they cannot be done until the new public safety building

is built. The public works department will move out of the rear of City

Hall to the old public safety building – freeing up the space.

Reynal recommended proceeding with the first option as soon as possible

to correct the room’s deficiencies, and in future years change over to one

of the larger layouts.

“The good thing is this building has enough square footage for

all the alternatives,” Reynal said.

The city finance committee will discuss alternatives at its meeting


· Contact Chris Newman at [email protected].



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