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Jul 26, 2013 7:19 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Atascadero's Historic City Hall set to reopen

Atascadero's Historic City Hall will reopen in less than a month.

The building closed after extensive damage from the San Simeon earthquake in 2003. The restoration took a lot of work and a lot of money -- more than $20-million, but its reopening is the highlight of the city's 100-year anniversary.

"It's a historic site. It's on the national registry, and our community wanted to make sure it was preserved for posterity," said Mayor Tom O'Malley.

After a decade, the restoration is almost complete.

"Originally, all of this detail was there, but the painting and contrast in colors didn't exist," said O'Malley. "We worked hard to get grants across the board from many organizations, and this is going to go forward. It's a priority for our community. Just because FEMA changes their mind every few years, isn't going to stop our community from doing the right thing."

FEMA asked the city to give back millions of dollars it was given after the earthquake to help rebuild. FEMA now says it made a mistake and allocated too much money, but city officials say this will not get in their way. The building will soon be home to the city government, the historical society, and it will be the center of information for Atascadero.

"We truly have laid the foundation for our centennial celebration from the ground up," said O'Malley.

Historic restorations can be difficult; however, 80% of the 1917 structure lives on.

"The old structure is now tied in to the new structure," said Dan Huff, Project Manager.

Every wall has been reinforced in case another earthquake hits.

"This is kind of a cutaway showing from old to new," said Huff.

City offices will move from their current location in Colony Square to the restored building on August 20. The Colony Square building will be sold.

Happy Centennial Atascadero!

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