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It's not your TV set

Updated council chambers look good in person, residents say, but it's less telegenic .

July 02, 2010|By Melanie Hicken,

CITY HALL— A recently unveiled update to the City Council chamber and lobby has earned wide praise, though some residents have complained the renovations have made it difficult for at-home viewing.

In a letter to the Glendale News-Press on June 21, resident Susan Stephenson said dim lighting, distant camera angles and an echo made the government-access channel less appealing to watch.

"Whatever the message may be, if it's delivered from the new council chambers, that room will suffocate it for television viewers," she said.


In the weeks since, city officials have worked to add additional lighting fixtures and adjust lighting levels in the revamped chambers, said Public Works Director Steve Zurn

Officials are also working on installing electronic equipment to diminish the echo caused by a new high ceiling.

Still, Zurn said he believed some of the response partially stems from the stark change from the previous chamber's bright fluorescent lighting.

"Overall, it is a softer tone in there," he said. "That's the first thing you notice, and that was our intent."

Overall, city officials have said they are pleased with the $178,000 renovations of the City Hall lobby and City Council chambers, which were the first major upgrades at City Hall since the 1970s.

In the council chambers the low ceiling was removed to reveal original concrete beams, which were given a wood covering. The existing floor-to-ceiling wood paneling was removed and replaced with a combination of drywall and updated paneling.

Worn carpet was replaced, and original fixed seating was replaced with 120 new chairs. Outdated window coverings were swapped out with automatic shades, and several flat screen TVs were placed on the walls to show presentations and GTV6.

In the lobby, parquet flooring installed during the 1970s was removed and worn carpeting was replaced.

The City Council approved the renovations as an interim measure until funds are available for more widespread improvements, which were expected to cost more than $1 million.

"We just didn't have that kind of capital funds available," Zurn said. "We have other pressing needs, but the chambers did need to be updated."

The work was done almost entirely by Public Works staff, which contained costs, he said.

During the renovations, workers discovered original concrete tile in the City Hall lobby that had been covered during the 1970s renovations.

The City Council on June 15 allocated an additional $71,200 to restore the tile.

"It was a really wonderful discovery, and something that if we hadn't done this restoration probably would have gone many more years without being discovered," Councilwoman Laura Friedman said. "It really makes the lobby look pretty spectacular."

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