Town Hall's move to Main Street is likely years away, according to the town administrator, but the project to add parking in downtown Bel Air is in motion.
While the town may eventually move its main building to the site of what is now the old BB&T Bank building on Main Street, for now, the plan is to have the building demolished and replaced with a parking lot.
The town purchased the 19,700-square-foot building at 33–37 S. Main St. earlier this year under a $1,032,000 agreement.
The plan is to demolish the building, put in parking and eventually build a new town hall on the property. The Bel Air Police Department, currently on the lower floor of the existing Town Hall, would take over both floors.
"A long-term option is to construct a municipal building [on Main Street], nothing’s changed," Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said Thursday.
That option, however may take some time to come to fruition.
"Unfortunately, the economy is going to have to get a lot better before we do that, so it’s going to be a parking lot for years," Schlehr said.
Randy Robertson, Bel Air's director of public works, said during Tuesday's work session that the six bids for demolition work ranged from $251,230 to about $420,000.
The contract will involve demolition of the building, removal of hazardous materials, filling in the basement area, leveling the area and paving the property into a 33-space parking lot, Robertson said.
The demolition will involve "no wrecking balls," Robertson said. "Hopefully, we’ll be doing it in February, early March."
The town is also looking into the possibility of connecting the parking lot to the Hickory parking garage with an additional entrance to further facilitate parking.
"That would make the garage accessible from Main Street," Schlehr said at the meeting.