Westminster's City Council chose its City Hall renovation architect last night to convert the former National Guard Armory on Longwell Avenue into additional city recreation programs and office space.
The council awarded a $25,400 design contract to Daniels Jones Associates of Baltimore, the architectural firm that designed the changes now under construction at City Hall. The historic City Hall building will get a council meeting room restored to an 18th-century look, access to all building levels for the disabled and a formal entryway at the heavily used rear entrance.
Council President Kenneth A. Yowan warned his colleagues that the $347,000 budgeted for the armory renovation probably won't be enough. Architects that he and Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein interviewed for the project "said the money we have budgeted for this is not generous," Mr. Yowan said.
Westminster rented the building from the state government in 1980, renamed it the Longwell Municipal Center, and used it to house city police and recreation programs.
The state Board of Public Works sold the former armory to the city for $1 in September, but imposed a requirement requested by the Maryland Historic Trust that binds the city to preserve the historic facade.
City Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard predicted that the Historic Trust requirement and the commitment to make the building accessible to the disabled are likely to be the two toughest challenges in the renovation,
The Longwell project includes converting space vacated by the Police Department into city finance offices, making the building accessible to wheelchair users and expanding recreation space.
The council also denied a request from the county school system to construct a sidewalk along Uniontown Road between Johahn Drive and Buckcash Drive for children walking to Westminster Elementary School. The council endorsed Mr. Beyard's suggested alternate route for the children, along less heavily traveled Whispering Meadows Drive.