The former city hall in downtown Orange has remained vacant since the city moved its municipal offices to a previous bank building on 16th Street two years ago. The Orange City Council met in October to discuss what are the future prospects of the historic home which served as the city hall for decades.
No action was taken after the closed door session of the City Council. City Manager Mike Kunst stated the city has no plans to demolish the building which has survived numerous hurricanes and the recent tornado that passed through Orange.
The city is looking to make use of it to promote other attractions in the downtown or other areas of Orange. Kunst indicated, “We want to see what we can do with it and hopefully it’s something we can afford to do with it.”
Citizens with ideas of how to use the old city hall are welcome to make suggestions to Kunst. “We’re always open to them, we want to do something that fits in with that part of the city and again kind of makes us proud of what that building was and what it can be.”
Kunst said engineers are checking the old city hall building to see if any repairs are necessary and how it can be adapted for other uses. The outer façade would remain mostly unchanged with some change done to the interior to remodel it for possibly a tourist information center for people visiting Orange.
The prospect is also to use the interior to house a museum or possibly multiple museums like the African-American Museum, a musical museum, a ship building museum, or a City of Orange museum. “A designated museum would not necessarily have the whole footprint of the building. It could be that they just have a smaller piece depending on what type of things they have to put in that museum,” Kunst added.
The former City Hall is located at 803 West Green Avenue. The former mansion was constructed in 1924 and was purchased by Orange in 1944.
Written by Dan Perrine