WESTON -- A nearly $1 million price tag to renovate City Hall so far has proved no match for 120 years of history.
Last month city officials reported the first phase, at a cost of $226,000, was complete.
The 120-year-old building at 114 E. Main St. was built in 1891, when the roads surrounding it were dirt and the sidewalks were made of wood, wrote Weston Police Sgt. Joshua Henningsen in a news release.
Over the years, the building has been a community focal point and local icon that had served as the Odd Fellows Lodge, a bank, a furniture store, a telephone company and a mortuary.
Today, it is the city hall and police station, though at one time it seemed doomed to come down.
Faced with a $1 million cost to renovate and retrofit the building to code, city officials called a special meeting and put a vote to the attending public.
About 50 of the town's 750 residents showed up for the nearly two-hour meeting, according to Henningsen.
At the end of the meeting, a vote was called for and the attendees cast their vote on small pieces of paper that were collected in Mayor Duane Thul's hat.
Nearly all the attendees voted in favor of saving the building, Henningsen wrote.
"It was the largest of any meeting the city has held during my term," Thul said. "I was split 50-50. I wanted to save the building but the cost was a crushing feeling especially when our city has many other needs."
The city contracted with Pioneer Waterproofing Company of Portland to do seismic upgrades, insert steel rods to support walls, repair brick and mortar and waterproof the building.
The first phase of the project took four months and will be paid for with city funds.
Part of the work involved finding bricks to match the original stock.
At one time, Weston had its own brick mill and produced the bricks used in construction of the building.
Crews had to search for old bricks that were similar to the deteriorating bricks, which are not a standard size.
They found them in the city brick pile and on private residences.
According to Henningsen, the building is now stabilized and work will continue over the next couple of years,
If the second floor is ever to be used again by the public, the city will have to meet fire codes by adding stairways that will require significant additional improvements, he added.
The Public Works Department continues to monitor the stability of the building by taking measurements every two weeks to detect any additional movement due to the wet soil of Pine Creek.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.