GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport City Council members took a tour of city hall Tuesday morning. That historic building downtown is undergoing a major renovation.
Construction crews began work last summer on the historic landmark built in 1905. The restoration project includes preserving original brick on the west wall and heart of pine flooring in the council chambers.
Gulfport city leaders toured a work-in-progress. City leaders like what they see with the ongoing project, but they're also paying close attention to the cost.
"I think it's tremendous. I think it's something. Everybody sees something else coming back. We want to see it come back and the other municipal buildings come back also. The Hardy Building's back and it's beautiful. And this building will be just the same," said Ricky Dombrowski, who recently won the council seat in Ward 5.
Breathing new life into the historic building has been an ongoing challenge for the contractor. The job has included various change orders and some unexpected asbestos removal.
"The building is going great. We've made a lot of changes. A lot of repairs to this building since we started this project. And we're on the downhill now," said project manager Randy Carraway with Gulf Coast Construction.
"This is exciting. It really is. We've waited a long time for this. We've been in trailers and I think our staff is ready to come out of those trailers and come back home. So, this is exciting for us," said Gulfport's CEO, Dr. John Kelly.
Council member Ella Holmes-Hines is pleased with the progress, but also aware of the need to be fiscally responsible.
"What I see here today is very nice. These contractors put their heart and soul into this building. It's extremely good. But we're also looking at budget constraints. Those budget constraints are really going to make the decision with what we can move forward with," said the Ward 3 council member.
Furnishing the renovated city hall is next on the project agenda. The city council will consider cost estimates at its next meeting on June 3rd.