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City Hall new and improved

The ribbon cutting held June 12 was a historic day for the City of Ely. For the first time, the Ely City Hall now has handicap accessibility in the form of a new elevator.
But that’s not the only improvement that was made as part of a better than $3 million project.
First up was the new library that was opened last fall and continues to get rave reviews from those who visit or even drive by.
Next up were long overdue renovations to City Hall. At the core of that project was the new elevator and an addition to the east side of the building.
Gone are the jail cells, no longer needed here due to changes in how law enforcement operates. Instead the police department now has more spacious quarters including a locker room, separate interview room and a larger office space.
The project forced a reshuffling of sorts at City Hall with most departments taking up new areas. That’s most evident on the top floor where the city clerk’s office has now moved. It is located adjacent to the planning and zoning office and the building inspector’s office.
The council chambers have a new look as well. The old pews are gone as well as the vestiges of the former courtroom. This room may need some further improvements when funding becomes available. It’s got too much of a warehouse-type feel.
To get to the elevator or come from it on the top floor you walk through a hallway filled with pictures of past Ely mayors, a fitting nod to the city’s rich history.
The mayor’s office is now located in a more convenient location on the top floor with a reception area that doubles as a nice meeting room.
Getting these improvements wasn’t easy. It took many proposals, some tense moments at meetings and even some disagreement, but all in all we like the finished product.
It was clear from the debate that there would be no solution that yielded community consensus but given funding constraints and the space they had available, we believe council members made the best of a difficult situation.
A new library, a more accommodating City Hall, both at a price that didn’t gouge the taxpayer. Throw in an elevator and Ely’s public buildings are now in the 21st century.

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