City Hall to move to former Ameritas site by 2024

Maddie Genoways, News Writer

The Wayne City Government expects big changes in the next year as plans for a new city hall unfold.  

At one of their last meetings of the year, the City Council discussed the use of the former Amertias building on 513 Main St. as a potential location for a new city hall. With the start of the new year, the city now has a purchase agreement for the property and expects to close on it by the end of January.  

With the purchase comes a concrete parking lot on 6th and Logan. The city is also looking to purchase the parking lot North of the Ameritas building for employee use. The entire purchase is expected to cost around $700,000 before renovations begin. 

The current city hall sits at 306 Pearl St. as Wayne City Utility Billing, housing many of Wayne’s municipal departments, such as the local police department, city council and utility offices. Before its use as a center for city activities, the building served the community as Benthack Hospital, built by Dr. Walter Benthack in 1937.  

The building has been in use for more than 80 years, and according to the City Council, it shows.  

City Administrator Wes Blecke said that while renovations to certain areas have helped to modernize the municipal building, what remains leaves much to be desired.  

“Most people enter the building and go right to the first floor utility offices. Those were renovated in 2015, so they still look pretty nice,” Blecke said. “But if you’ve ever been up to the second floor, you’ll know it’s a completely different story. It’s all very dated. My office looks like something out of the 70s.” 

Blecke explained that the Pearl St. location is outdated in more than just its appearance.  

“The building used to be a hospital, and even though it’s been fixed up and renovated, you can still see it in places,” Blecke said.  

The council’s foremost concern with the current City Hall is its one and only elevator, which has been in use since the building’s days as a hospital.  

“A lot of people need to use our elevator, but it’s pretty old fashioned- one of those rickety-looking hospital elevators with a metal grate- so some people are pretty freaked out by it. It’s just not very accessible,” Blecke said.  

Blecke said that the City is “not in a big hurry to move right now,” but that they will not sit on the unused property for too long.  

“We’re hoping to begin interior renovations on the Ameritas building in late summer, early fall,” Blecke said.  

Renovations will include a total interior remodel and the construction of a five-car garage.  

“We’re completely moving out of the current building,” Blecke said. “The police department, clerks, treasurer, utility, zoning, planning, IT, and admin offices will all move to the new location. The current hope is for us to move buildings completely by next year.”  

It is currently unknown what the city will do with the Pearl Street location once it is vacant.