The idea of a new civic center campus isn’t new. Over the years, the city has explored sites inside and outside of the central business district (CBD), including but not limited to the former school administration building and the senior center site. In the end, the preferred option by multiple city commissions and stakeholders has been to create a civic center area in the downtown.
There are many reasons why a downtown civic center is attractive in a traditional city:
- Many efficiencies are realized when City Hall is close to the police station, courts and business community.
- It is the city commission's goal to increase office space and the number of office users in downtown Royal Oak in order to provide daytime customers for our retailers and restaurants. City Hall is a mid-sized office building with about 100 employees and functions. It draws many people downtown to support local restaurants and shopping. To move it elsewhere would work against the needs of our downtown and our established goal.
- Our current downtown location is a principle attraction for many of our employees and prospective employees. A location outside of the CBD would make it harder to attract and retain staff.
- The city does not own land outside of the CBD that would be economically feasible to construct a new office building with the requisite parking requirements for 100 employees.
- At no point was it considered to develop a building upon dedicated park land or to incur acquisition and/or demolition costs to develop on a private parcel that we would have to purchase. Doing so would add significantly to the cost of the project and would require displacing active businesses, which would also be in direct contravention to the commission's goals.