SCRANTON, Pa. -- Scranton City Hall is 130 years old and has never seen a major renovation. City officials say the time has come after engineers noticed loose parts of the building's facade last week.
Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright says he hoped he'd have more time to tackle a renovation at City Hall, but an inspection on the building's steeple last week uncovered some problems that need to be fixed immediately.
Scranton City Hall is something to behold. For the past few days, structural engineers have been looking up at it with a discerning eye, checking for any potential problems.
It was built in 1888, and city officials say they can't find any record of a major renovation since then.
"It's been years and years and years," said Courtright. "We knew when I first got into office that it was something that needed to be done, but obviously we had some other things we had to take care of first, so that's why we're getting the assessment done now. Once the assessment comes back and tells us what we need to do, our goal is to first button up the outside."
Engineers dangled from the side of City Hall's steeple during an inspection last week, they found a piece of the facade that was loose.
The city put barricades on the sidewalk below as a safety precaution.
"We're waiting to hire a company to come in. They're going to need a very large boom to get up to the steeple, and just come in and see, make sure there's nothing up there that's going to fall down right now," said Courtright.
City officials are asking people to avoid the corner of North Washington Avenue and Mulberry Street while the work is going on. You still can get in through the front doors if you need to access City Hall.
The barricades threw off some visitors to City Hall. They'll be up until a contractor can come in to check for any more loose stones on the side of the building.
It's just the first step in what will be a lengthy renovation.
"If they're going to stay here, then I think they would want to renovate it. If there's only a few loose stones, then maybe it's not such an issue. Who knows?"
That's the big question. The mayor says the city has received some estimates that a full renovation of City Hall could cost several million dollars.
The mayor is hoping grant money will help pay for it.