La Cañada Flintridge came together in style on Tuesday to officially open and celebrate its new City Hall with tours, speeches, snacks and a ribbon cutting, followed with the first City Council meeting at the new site.
Mayor Terry Walker welcomed everyone in front of the newly remodeled two-story building with multiple conference rooms at One Civic Center Drive. The event drew more than 100 people.
“I’m nervous,” Walker said. “It’s kind of like when you remodel your home and you think it’s really cool and you want everybody to like it and you’re nervous if they don’t.”
Walker said the new City Hall is an important move and she is proud of being centrally located.
“I think we got that right,” Walker said. “If you look around us, this is a beautiful location for our City Hall.”
Officials presented a dedication plaque and performed a ribbon cutting ceremony alongside Chamber of Commerce CEO Pat Anderson. The chamber plans to move into its new headquarters at the site next month.
Tours were given to show off the downstairs Council Chambers and departments upstairs, including planning, public works and a large office adorned with USC memorabilia, belonging to City Manager Mark Alexander, who graduated from the institution with a master’s degree in public administration. Alexander said he went back to the old City Hall on March 1 after everything had been cleared out.
“I was really amazed at how we were able to make it work in such small quarters,” Alexander said. “But we did. We made it work because that’s what we had to work with. But coming here sort of opened your eyes to opportunities and possibilities. Just having the space and having everyone on the same level really opened up communications. And it has provided us an opportunity [to add services] to the community and to address the community’s needs. We have counter space, we have meeting rooms, we have office rooms and it’s a big difference and a big improvement.”
Members of the tour were excited about the new building and what it means for the community.
“I think it’s incredible,” said Savonia Angelica, who is on the executive board of the Flintridge Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and a soon-to-be 50-year resident of LCF. “To watch the transition from our little city into a relevant city has been quite phenomenal.”
Mary Gant, an ambassador for the LCF Chamber of Commerce and a La Cañada Kiwanis club member, said the new city hall is a fantastic improvement.
“I think it’s very exciting and I think it’s something the city has needed and it will really be a showcase for the city,” she said.
The former City Hall at 1327 Foothill Boulevard, less than a mile from the new building, was in use for more than 40 years. Knight Insurance purchased that site and will remodel the interior before it officially opens for business there, officials have said. The purchase/sale agreement stipulated a purchase price of $3.3 million with a $250,000 deposit into escrow, which closed on March 4, Alexander said.
The new City Hall location was purchased for $11.23 million in a transaction that included the former Sports Chalet headquarters and the adjoining Montessori school property in February 2017. With renovations, begun in July 2018, the purchase and total initial project cost has been estimated at $18.3 million.
During a tour of the new City Hall, Lisa Brancheau, a senior management analyst for LCF, pointed out that more than 100 boxes of records have been stored properly in the basement of the new building, in a locked room near where employees park.
“We had 100 boxes that we had stored in the old City Hall, just in planning alone, that we’re retaining as permanent records downstairs,” Brancheau said. “So if we ever need to catalogue them or we need to re-access them, we can just go to them. We don’t need them all around us to take up space.”
After the tour and the closing comments, a reception was held with refreshments in the new David A. Spence Memorial Community Room. The room is dedicated to six-time former Mayor Spence, who died unexpectedly on May 16, 2017. In March of that year, he had been re-elected to a seventh term.