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Plans unveiled for renovation

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 06:31 AM

HUNTINGTON — Dr. Joe Touma has some ambitious remodeling plans for Huntington City Hall.

The ear, nose and throat doctor who has renovated several buildings in downtown Huntington during the past decade is spearheading a campaign to raise $150,000 in private donations to redecorate the main hallway of the city government building at the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and 8th Street. He hopes to form a fundraising committee and have the project completed sometime next year as part of the building's 100th birthday celebration.

"The building is grand, and the main hallway is grand, but it has become outdated," Touma said. "I believe and the mayor believes that City Hall should reflect who we are, and that's a progressive city that is moving forward in every aspect."

Approximately $50,000 already has been raised as seed money for the renovation project. The money was donated to the City of Huntington Foundation by friends of Verna Gibson as a way to honor her when she was inducted into the Huntington Wall of Fame in 2012.

"We didn't know what we were going to do with this money at first, but when we started talking about renovating City Hall, (Gibson) got excited, and her husband got excited, and the mayor got excited. When we discovered that next year is the 100th year of the building's existence, everyone got excited."

Huntington City Hall was constructed in 1914 by the King Lumber Co. at a cost of $115,300, according to "A Survey of Downtown Huntington," which was written by several Marshall University professors in 1985 for the Cabell County Landmarks Commission. It was designed by architect V.T. Ritter and replaced the old City Hall, a Victorian building located just north of the Carnegie Library, which is presently the Huntington Junior College of Business.

Mayor Steve Williams said the main hallway of City Hall was last renovated in 1985.

"Our remodeling is long overdue," he said. "We will be able to properly celebrate the 100th anniversary of the construction of City Hall. The design will showcase its beautiful architecture. Every citizen will be proud."

Interior Perspectives of Wheelersburg, Ohio, was hired to come up with a new interior design and redecorate the main hallway. Business owner Rebecca Dripps said the project will include replacing light fixtures, carpeting and floor tiles as well as new paint and vinyl wall coverings.

"The idea is to enhance the architectural features, such as the marble staircase, and let the details of this beautiful building really stand out," Dripps said.

A welcome desk staffed by volunteers will be placed near the main entrance of City Hall to assist people who need help finding an office. Williams also wants to replace the three-paneled city logo on the 5th Avenue side of the building with large windows to pull more natural light into City Hall. That was the original design of the building, he said.

For more information on how to make a donation to the project, call City of Huntington Foundation President Maxine Loudermilk at 304-696-5522.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.

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