Survey results show public opinion on Hastings City Hall

Local4 News at 6
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:40 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings leaders will have a better understanding on the current and future needs for city hall following the completion of a public survey.

This week, the City of Hastings released the results of the seven-question survey, which opened on March 7 and ran for two weeks. The digital version closed March 22 and the paper copies had to be in by March 24.

There were 596 surveys completed. Of that total, 66 were paper copies. Including responses from all seven questions, there were 618 comments.

“I’m impressed with the amount of people who took this survey over the course of two weeks,” City Administrator Shawn Metcalf said. “I’m grateful that our residents shared their thoughts and opinions with us about City Hall. Seeing their comments and feedback solidified answers to many questions I had. In the spirit of full transparency, the survey results, including comments, are now available for public consumption.”

One of the questions asked the participant’s age. The results showed good participation across all age groups. Participants included 26.4% in the 35-49 age group, 28.76% in the 50-64 age group and 27.24% in the 65 and older age group.

Another question asked about the importance of the location. A majority of the comments were that City Hall should remain at its current location or be at least downtown.

One survey comment said “I feel the City Hall should be a facility that is set apart from other facilities. It is Hastings, it is a building that should represent the people and that the citizens of Hastings can be proud of. The current facility needs help, but it is the right place for City Hall. It can be renovated and become the that facility.”

Right now, the building is in bad shape with a mold and asbestos problem among other issues.

Earlier this month, Environmental Director Marty Stange said employees had been exposed to unsafe conditions for too long.

Just this week, a crew from Midlands Duct Cleaning, Inc. of Lincoln spent three evenings cleaning the City Hall air ducts, completing the work on Wednesday. Midlands Duct Cleaning is now in the process of compiling a full report about the cleaning process and ductwork condition.

The City Hall Survey will be reviewed by the City Hall Committee on April 11. During the April 17 work session Metcalf will discuss the results of the survey with City Council.

Hasting City Council members will not be deciding on what to do with City Hall on April 17, as work sessions are for discussion only. Currently an architect is working on some lower cost options for the council to consider, which likely won’t be completed until May or June.

At that point, the City Hall Committee will have all the information needed to have their last meeting and prepare a final recommendation to City Council.

The city is also getting closer to deciding where to move city hall employees.

Public Information Manager Tony Herrman said a group of city leadership representing departments affected by the move have been meeting on a weekly basis to discuss possible locations and all the work that goes into a move like that.

He said they are evaluating locations, weighing factors like space, cost and internet network connection; figuring out how to fit everyone into the temporary space available and how to connect temporary locations to the city network at fast enough internet speeds.

Herrman said the plan right now is for development services to temporarily locate itself in the Yost Building at 3505 Yost Ave. The city is finalizing negotiations to rent space for the administration and finance departments.

There are about 20 employees at City Hall from the administration, finance and development services. It estimated they will be out of the building at 220 N. Hastings Ave., within two months.