FLETCHER — Fletcher town leaders this week will celebrate the first turn of earth for a new Town Hall, a project they hope will be a catalyst for private investment in a pedestrian friendly downtown area.
Twelve years in the talking and planning stages, the $7 million building at the corner of East Fanning Bridge Road and Old Cane Creek Road will put all town departments under one roof for the first time. The Fletcher Town Council and other officials will break ground on the new Town Hall at 11 a.m. today.
Town council members hope the new building will be a catalyst for more improvement, bringing in new businesses, from offices and retail space to new residential development.
Designed by the late Stuart Stepp, a Hendersonville architect, the building will be three stories tall and approximately 25,000 square feet, a substantial step up from the current Fletcher Town Hall at 4005 Hendersonville Road, which is 6,755 square feet. The lower level will house the police department. Administration and the council chambers will be on the second level. The third floor will contain the parks and recreation and planning departments and a community room.
The council last month awarded a $7.11 million construction contract to Cooper Construction of Hendersonville. The contract includes roadwork around the town hall.
"This isn't just going to be a town hall; this is going to be a town facility, with community programs," said Mayor of Fletcher, Bill Moore. "We have worked hard to get this going, and are going to commit to the project. I can't even tell you how excited we are about this."
The Town Hall would be the first building in the Heart of Fletcher, the town's name for the central development.
"We wanted to create a downtown area in Fletcher," said Heather Taylor, Fletcher's administrative services director. "This is something we've been talking about for 12 years now, so we are very excited to see it finally come to fruition."
Moving the Fletcher Police Department into the Town Hall building, in closer proximity to city administrators, will also create unity and better functionality among the department and elected officials. The current police department has been in need of a new location as it lacks the space needed for all departments, so anticipation for the move is high.
"There have been a lot of blood, sweat and tears going into this project," said Police Chief Erik Summey. "It's been a long process; it's almost surreal to see it actually happening."
Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce, known for its urban design and planning, determined the location for the Town Hall and forthcoming Fletcher Town Center, which will be home to academic, office and retail space, and a proposed new Henderson County library.
"The goal was to create a higher density area that is pedestrian-friendly and appealing to locals and visitors alike," said Rence Callahan, of Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce. "We concluded that placing the Town Hall strategically so that the mountains are visible between the roofline and the Fletcher Community Park would create a symbolic element for the community, and allow the town to grow in a way so it is not just a stop on the highway, but a place people can call home or be excited to come visit."
Town leaders hope the new Town Hall sparks a new wave of growth for Fletcher that will change the community dynamic and encourage private and public sector development.
Plans for the current Town Hall are still undecided. Construction at the new location should take anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Starting last week, Old Cane Creek Road was closed for the construction work.
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