Reading is making moves that city officials said will result in City Hall being more business- and customer-friendly, but there may be some small bumps in the road along the way.
The first phase of the project began at noon Friday when the building and trades office closed to relocate to the citizen's service center on the first floor of City Hall. It will reopen there at 7:30 a.m. Monday.
Several other city departments that deal with the public, including zoning, planning and historic preservation, will move into the same office next week, officials said.
"This project is in the pursuit of long-term customer convenience, and we are asking the public to be patient with us during the moving process," said Carole Snyder, the city's managing director. "The move will require a few hours of short-term inconveniences here and there, but it is fulfilling Mayor [Vaughn] Spencer's promise of making City Hall more business-friendly and more customer-friendly.”
The city's efforts are being hampered by having to sort through decades of files and paperwork that Snyder said were poorly managed.
"That really bogs us down. We really need more effective policies and practices regarding records retention, and the administration is working on departments sorting through records that need to be retained and effectively indexed to hold more value," Snyder said.
Initial plans for the moves were radically changed in an effort to lower the $200,000 cost to just $4,000, Snyder said.
"And we're proceeding months ahead of the original schedule. We're not moving a single wall," Snyder said.
A grand opening celebration is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 30.