More than two years after a lighting strike, fire and flood prompted an emergency evacuation and an $11 million renovation to the historic building, Saratoga Springs City Hall will re-open to the public around the end of September.
“We’ve tackled lightning, fire … and barring any other unforseen acts of God, City hall will be ready to open by the end of this month,” said city Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, who has overseen the renovation.
The renovation was close to finished when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, and that initially stopped work and then slowed it, as workers had to follow social distancing guidelines and meetings became virtual. Contractors also had difficulty re-staffing the work site, Scirocco said.
“COVID was responsible for slowing everything down, but it never stopped our progress,” Scirocco said.
City officials moved back into the building at 474 Broadway in late June, but additional renovations due to COVID-19 have meant the building wasn’t ready to open to the public.
While the building will finally open to the public around the end of the month, Scirocco said at last week’s City Council meeting, that new precautions will be put in place.
“DPW will need to direct the public to a central location and a greeter will welcome them, and ensure that they do not have a fever or other symptoms of COVID or have traveled to any hot spots in the last 14 days,” he said. “The will require signage and a plexiglass enclosed work area for the greeter.”
There will also be plexiglass barriers in all city offices, and hand-sanitizer stations inside the building, Scirocco said.
The Aug. 18, 2018 lightning strike on the third floor of City Hall forced the city to move all government offices except the police department to the city Recreation Center on Vanderbilt Avenue, where they remained — in improvised offices in the large gym — until this last June. The move of employees back to City Hall in June allowed the Recreation Center to again be used for a children’s summer camp, as it had been in the past.
As part of the re-opening, City Council meetings will move back to City Hall as of the Tuesday, Sept. 15 meeting. The last two meetings have been held at the Canfield Casino, as the Council Chambers weren’t ready for use.
There will be restrictions on the public, however. Admission will be on a first-come, first-seated basis, with only the ramp door on the Broadway side of the building open. The door will open at 6:40 p.m. for the 7 p.m. meeting.
Those entering the building for the council meeting will need to sign in, pass a temperature check, and attest that they have not been exposed to COVID or had a close exposure to COVID in the last 14 days. Masks will be required while in the building.
Those who can’t attend may submit public comments by email at [email protected]
Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086,