Officials in Eagan may soon chart the future of the city’s century-old Town Hall, which was heavily damaged last fall by an arson fire.
The building, which contained displays and artifacts, was a popular destination for school and scout groups as well as residents interested in learning more about Eagan’s history, said Tom Garrison, the city’s communications director. Some items managed to be saved and have been cleaned up and stored in a vacant fire administration building, he said.
Mayor Mike Maguire called the fire “one of those unexpected challenges” in his recent State of the City address and praised the fast response by fire and police departments, which saved the historic building from being a total loss. The fire remains under investigation.
The structure, which sits across the street from Eagan’s municipal campus, was shrink-wrapped in plastic to maintain surviving portions during the winter while the city considered options for preserving it.
Earlier this year, the city began seeking proposals from architects on the cost and timeline. The suggested options include constructing a stand-alone building on the city’s campus, reconstructing it as an addition to the existing City Hall or installing elements of it in the vacant fire administration building in partnership with other area arts, culture or history groups.
The city will receive about $86,000 in insurance from the League of Minnesota Cities after paying a $25,000 deductible. The city already has determined it would cost about $131,000 to rebuild the hall on its current site using new materials. The council rejected the idea of using vintage materials, because that would cost two to three times more. However, the city has asked architects to find ways to use salvaged materials.
Garrison said the city is seeking “concept ideas, not finished designs.” The process doesn’t preclude the council from choosing some other option, he said. “This is simply gathering more and better information so [the council] can begin to identify preferred … steps going forward,” he said.