Pocatello City Hall could eventually have a new home.
The city is looking at plans to relocate its offices. It is considering moving from its current location on North 7th to Old Town, or downtown Pocatello.
The city said this isn’t a done deal, it’s really just an idea at this point. But many in Old town like the idea.
There’s a big push in recent years to help revitalize Old Town and if city hall relocated, that could be a big push toward progress in helping that.
The idea had been discussed a few times, then Utah State University students incorporated the possibility of moving city hall into their designs and information in the Portneuf River visioning project. Mayor Brian Blad liked the idea and it has led to some serious discussions.
“Lots of people don’t’ see Old Town on a regular basis,” said Matthew Hunter, president and CEO of the Pocatello/Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce. “They’d have a reason to see it.”
“The historic heart of Pocatello, where city hall really belongs and should have been all these years,” said Stephanie Palagi, executive director for Old Town Pocatello.
Those in Old Town said the need for people to have to come to city hall, as well as the number of employees it has, and everything else it brings with it, would be an economic boost for downtown.
“It’s a great thing to see our city growing and to see that our city needs more space, more staff because things are really positive happening here in Pocatello and that’s just great,” Hunter said. “But then to have them having lunch downtown, have them hanging out here, that would be awesome so we’d really love to see city hall in downtown.”
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Palagi said. “It’s also a step that fits right in with our development plan that we’ve been working on for the last year and that plan is, ‘Where are we headed in the next 20 years?’ What type of development projects are you going to see? An expansion of Simplot Square that ties into the river development along Center Street, relocation of city hall, additional parking, additional greenspace and recreational activities for families and kids – all things we are working toward as the future of downtown.”
Business owners and those who work in Old Town agree and many businesses that KIFI/KIDK spoke with are on board with the project.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Karen Martin, owner of Pocatello Co-op and who also helps out at the store Vain and Vintage. “To get more people downtown, that would bring in a lot of business to all of us – the restaurants and all the shops. I think it’s great.”
Palagi said a few locations that have been mentioned for the location of city hall in Old Town would be either the old factories along the river, or in available space across from Simplot Square. She said they could look at renovating and using an existing building, or they could build a brand new one, depending on analysis and other factors.
Palagi said this is the very, very early stages and nothing has been set in stone. But there has been a lot of enthusiasm for the project and some preliminary discussion.
The city said the relocation project could be anywhere from five to 15 years out, or maybe even longer.
With growth, the city it does need room to expand its operations as well so this is something to seriously consider.