SIMPSONVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The City of Simpsonville is consolidating its city hall, police, fire station and administrative offices into one area, at a brand-new municipal complex.

“It is a campus-like setting at the periphery of City Park. The police and city hall will be together in one building. The fire station with admin and fire personnel will all be in one building. So, those are the two city buildings. We are also allocating space for Greenville county to build their summary court building,” said Dianna Gracely, Simpsonville City Administrator.

Currently, the fire department administrative building is separate from the fire headquarters.

“The fire department administrative building is separate from station one, which is headquarters, and so the goal is to get them consolidated into one building, Gracely said. “Also consolidate city hall and police into one building. The current fire department headquarters and police department are very old buildings. They have a lot of mold problems and so they desperately need new facilities,” Gracely said. “The fire department headquarters I think, is a circa 1959 building. The police department is a little newer than that,” Gracely said. “The police department doesn’t look that terrible, but the interior, like I said, they have fought mold problems for years,” she said. “It’s difficult to maneuver around the building. It’s very chop up. So, it’s hard to get a good workflow going in that building. It just didn’t function well for them anymore.”  

“Then city hall, while not a terribly old building, is located on Main Street, and our goal is to redevelop this property to have a private investment and redevelopment of this site. So, it worked out for us to just move the whole complex together,” Gracely said. “That was the goal, to consolidate us into a campus and that way we all have access to each other throughout the day, and there’s no driving from one side of town to the other to get to us.”

“I think it will probably be convenient for them. I think it’s a good idea to put it all together. It’ll be convenient for the workers. Convenient for the residents and the people,” said Alycia Noll, a parent. “It’ll be easy to find all their answers and all their help in one place,” Noll said.

As for the park itself, some residents said they haven’t been too pleased.

“The park itself, is kind of run down as far as sports go, but the playground is recently updated, and my kids love the zipline and the new playground equipment. They have a new sensory area and that type of stuff, but the park itself could kind of use some updating as far as sports go,” Noll said.

Noll’s kids will soon see those enhancements at the City Park, as the park will get a facelift in a separate project.

“In addition to the municipal complex that we’re building, we are doing a complete redo of City Park. So, that all of the amenities will still be there, they’re just going to be updated and in different locations throughout the park when we’re finished,” Gracely said. “An example, the football fields. We’re excited about this. Currently, they have about one in and half fields. So they have one youth regulation size football field. The other field they use for practice. It’s a level playing surface but it’s not regulation,” Gracely said. “With this plan, we’re building two youth regulation size football fields. They’re going to be AstroTurf,” she said.

“The tennis courts for instance are in the back of the park now. We’re moving them to a more prominent location near the front, near where people park,” Gracely said.

Gracely said they’ve budgeted about $3 million for the park improvements. She said the money is from from a separate bond issue, outside of what they did for the municipal complex. The municipal complex is a $14 million project.

Gracely also said disc golf will move to the back side of the property, where there are more trees and more obstacles for a better course. 

“The city’s portion we borrowed and an installment purchase revenue bond, $12.5 million, and then we’re also going to use some of our ARPA money on green infrastructure with the site development. So, the total project cost will likely be around $14 million dollar,” Gracely said.

“It’s great for the kids. The kids need to get away from video games and get out here and play,” Noll said. “Updated equipment will be great for them,” she said.

Leaders said overall, this will be great for the city, as well.

“It’s a big investment for the city, but it’s been a really longtime, since the city really invested in its buildings that serve the public,” Gracely said. “We think it’s very important to make that investment. Not only to provide better service, but to say to potential private investors, look we care about the buildings that we’re constructing and what we’re doing and so it welcomes more private investment,” Gracely said.

Gracely said they are anticipating breaking ground on the municipal complex in June, and expect to be at the new location by the end of next year.

“Then there are park improvements that are phase one improvements that will go along with the initial municipal complex project, and then there are other park improvements that will be a phase two that will have to wait until we’ve move,” Gracely said. “Because right now, some of these park amenities that we’re showing on this site plan actually are located where the current police and fire stations are, so we can’t move on those projects, until we’ve left those buildings, and then we raise those buildings and then we move on to phase two of the park improvements,” she said.

The complex is still in the design phase. The administrator said the complex and the park renovations should be about a two year project.