Matthew Toth, Lebanon Daily News
City officials officially cut the ribbon to their new Cumberland Street location, completing a long-awaited return of city hall and police headquarters to downtown Lebanon.
This is something city officials have wanted to do for years, according to Mayor Sherry Capello. City official began moving in April 29.
“The last year and a half has been very time consuming, especially after construction started last June,” Capello said. “All the employees pitched in with organizing, packing, moving, weeding, planting trees … you name it and they did it.”
Harrisburg Area Community College finalized the sale of the Lebanon campus to city officials on June 2021. Lebanon acquired the 65,000-square-foot, three-story building for $2.2 million.
HACC will use the third floor of the building for classrooms and offices.
The city offices were originally located in the Lebanon County Municipal Building since 1963, after city officials originally moved from its North 9th street location.
One of those pushing for the move was the late-Frank Dixon, whose foundation was instrumental in bringing HACC to downtown Lebanon. Dixon and his foundation helped play a role in getting city hall into the business district, including donating $200,000 to the city towards a down payment for the building.
“He always wanted city hall downtown from the day he moved here,” Dixon’s son, Tom, said at Monday’s ceremony.
Lebanon officials recognized Dixon’s contributions by naming the city council chambers and multi-purpose room after him.
The new location will make it easier for residents to visit with city officials, according to Capello. The building is located next to the city transit center and in an area with increased foot traffic.
On any given shift, the city hall and police station can have anywhere between 40 to 60 employees. Having these employees go take part in local businesses can have a positive impact in revitalizing the business district, according to Capello.
“We already know there is one business that is going to be located next door very soon,” she said. “They made their decision based on city hall being here.”
Capello added having the city police station in the downtown will also help with public safety and crime prevention.
“To see police officers on the street more, I think, just helps with the perception of the increase of safety,” she said.
The municipal building will not be utilizing metal detectors, according to Capello. Instead there are back office areas for city officials that the public will not have access to.
“We’ve created public meeting and conference rooms for each area where employees can meet face to face with the public,” she said. “These rooms are surrounded by glass so other employees will be able to see if there is a problem.”
Officials are hoping the move will continue plans to revitalize the business district, and promote more businesses to move into the city moving forward.
“We’re hoping that just a combination of increased esthetics, increased safety (and) more foot traffic will help kickstart other businesses moving in,” Capello said.
The new city hall is located at 735 Cumberland St., Lebanon. The primary number for city officials is 717-639-2800.
Matthew Toth is a reporter for the Lebanon Daily News. Reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DAMattToth.