Parks and recreation and animal control are on the move in Exeter.
The Community Services Department – which encompasses parks and recreation, animal control and Dial-A-Ride headquarters – will move from its current location on Firebaugh Avenue to the City Hall in downtown. The move is expected to be completed by the end of July.
City Manager Randy Groom said the move will centralize most of the City’s services for the everyday public requests.
“The vast majority of people who walk in looking for services are either looking for parks and recreation or utility billing services,” Groom said. “This puts all of those services into one location.”
The move also created larger offices for Groom and Deputy City Clerk Sandy Guillen. Those offices are now located at the southeast corner of the Exeter Police Department at 100 N. C St. in Exeter. The building was already being remodeled to use space more efficiently and to replace the fascia along the exterior of the buildings to remove some dry rot. The work was done by Exeter Police Reserve Office Kyle Stark, who is also a licensed contractor.
“He did a great job opening up the front of the building to give it a much cleaner look,” Groom said.
Groom also said Stark was able to recycle doors from other parts of the building and only added one interior wall to keep down the costs. Groom said the former police office was already furnished with a desk and cabinets and he added a couch from the interview room and a table set from another part of the building.
“All we really did was put some paint on the walls to finish up the project,” Groom said.
Groom and Guillen’s offices will be fully moved once the phone lines are switched over and signage is added to the doors. The southern door on the front entrance of the Police Station will only lead to the City Clerk/City Manager’s office. The Police Department door will still enter into the main lobby of the police station. There will not be public access between the two locations.
“It’s kind of like two suites of the same office building,” Groom said. “We are working on signage to clearly mark which entrance is for city administration.”
All of the phone numbers for City staff will remain the same: City Clerk/City Council, 592-9244; City Administration, 592-4539; Community Services, 592-2523; Recreation, 592-5262.
This will mark the first time the City Manager’s office has moved since City Hall was built in 1934. Prior to that, City officers were in the Board of Trade building now known as the Exeter Chamber of Commerce at 101 W. Pine St. This will mark the fifth time the Parks & Recreation Department has moved but a return to its original location.
“This will make things more centralized, kind of a one-stop shop for the community,” said Community Services Director Felix Ortiz.
Ortiz said when he started with the Parks and Recreation Department in 1987 his offices were located in the small brick building behind City Hall and shortly thereafter were moved into City Hall where the finance director’s office is now. In the 1998, Parks and Recreation moved to what is now the Exeter Historical Museum after the Exeter Police Department moved to its current location on C Street. In 2004, the City purchased two homes along Firebaugh Avenue. One of the homes is rented out to a tenant, the other is the Community Services Office, 314 W. Firebaugh Ave. Ortiz said his department will continue to use the Firebaugh location for storage after the move is complete. Groom said after the move, the City will eventually evaluate the house on Firebaugh to determine what future use it will provide.