The Tracy City Council formally opened the new City Hall on Tuesday as it raised a new flag, cut a red, white, and, blue ribbon and sealed a time capsule that will be opened in 50 years.
“I think you’ve got a city plaza and City Hall that befits what this city is about,” said Mayor Brent Ives, who cited the new Civic Center Plaza as key in the reconstruction of Tracy’s downtown.
The city moved its administration, planning, finance and human resources departments into the $26 million building two months ago, and some staff members are still moving in, waiting for bookshelves or rearranging the furniture. The 36,000-square-foot building also has some vacant offices and cubicles, but city leaders figure it gives the staff room to grow.
“When I first looked at this building, I thought, ‘My, that’s a bit much,’” said Council-woman Evelyn Tolbert. “Then I realized that the building has captured what we and Tracy are. This building has a warmth about it, just as our community has warmth and heart to it.”
Folks on hand for the dedication included former elected officials, including Mayor Dan Bilbrey, who was in office when the City Council gave the project the go-ahead.
At Tuesday’s ceremony, Robert Sell, 13, and Mercedes Silveira check out the time capsule that will be buried under the City Hall flagpole and unearthed in 50 years.Enrique Gutierrez/Tracy Press
Bilbrey recalled the date in 1990 when then-Mayor Clyde Bland appointed him and then-Councilman Richard Pombo to a committee that would plan a new civic center.
“We knew nothing would happen because we didn’t have any money,” Bilbrey said, but they created a preliminary plan and started to set aside developer fees to eventually pay for new civic buildings.
“What you have here is truly a community building,” Bilbrey said.
Also in attendance were Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, San Joaquin County Supervisor Leroy Ornellas, and Richard Hastie, who was mayor in 1972 when the former City Hall next door was dedicated.
“I can remember when we dedicated the City Hall across the street here, and it was such an improvement,” Hastie said. “A lot of people criticized us when it was built, but they soon recognized the value of it.”
To reach reporter Bob Brownne, call 830-4227 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.