Cuero gets new space for city business (video)
Aug. 28, 2013 at 3:28 a.m.
Updated Aug. 29, 2013 at 3:29 a.m.
Cuero finally has a one-stop shop for city business.
The new Cuero city hall, that also houses the police department, opened earlier this month.
Previously, the city's utility department, police department and city council chambers were on one side of the 200 block of East Main Street with administrative offices of the mayor, city manager, city secretary, building official and others across the street.
"It's been a blessing to have all your employees in one building," said city manager Raymie Zella. "We also built it for the convenience of our customers. It's been needed for a long time."
The original city hall was built in the late 1800s. In 1903, a bond issue passed, and a new, two-story brick city hall was built.
In 1954, the second story was removed, and the building remodeled, according to the book "DeWitt County History," published in 1991 by the DeWitt County Historical Commission.
The new offices in the former Rialto Theater building are part new construction and part renovation. The space is about 12,000 square feet and cost just under $3 million, Zella said.
The new council chambers are expansive, housed in the former theater portion of the renovated building.
The new construction is on the site of a former hotel that stood next to the theater.
The new offices include a spacious customer service area for utility bill payments and climate-controlled IT and computer rooms.
Police Sgt. Sam Saunders said the expansion was a welcome change.
"It's really nice," he said. "It is a more professional place to work and gives an all-around good impression."
Police Chief Jay Lewis agreed that the work environment is better for his officers, making special mention of the officer work stations.
"We didn't have this much room at the old facility," he said. "We had three work stations crammed into a little room. This is much nicer."
The police department portion of the building also includes offices, an interview room complete with audio and video recorders, a break room and a restroom with showers.
Mayor Sara Meyer praised the past city council for funding the project.
"We're very fortunate," she said. "The city council before us did a good job saving money and it's paid for.
"Our employees love the new space. They love the new technology. They feel like they aren't in the dark ages anymore."