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City departments move into new homes

A number of city offices are preparing for moves out of leased spaces and into city-owned buildings this month.

The moves will save more than $260,000 annually and “make more sense,” city capital programs and buildings director Gerry Jones said.

The most notable of the moves is the migration of the Parks and Recreation Department from the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts to the renovated city building next door to the East Suffolk Recreation Center on South Sixth Street. The department will begin operations there Tuesday.

“It just made so much more sense with Parks and Rec,” Jones said. Often, he said, residents who wished to sign up for recreation programs went to the East Suffolk Recreation Center, not knowing they should have gone to headquarters in the cultural arts center.

“The majority of people naturally go to the rec center,” Jones said. “We were sending folks from there to the cultural arts center. That was just confusing for the public.”

With the department’s administrative headquarters right next door, the process will be simpler, Jones said.

The 8,600-square-foot space was gutted and renovated with a $539,000 price tag, Jones said. It will take slightly more than three and a half years for the renovation to pay for itself in saved lease payments.

The Economic Development Department also will soon move into the old human resources building at 440 Market St. until renovations are completed to the Phoenix Bank building. The department’s eventual home in the center of downtown puts it “right in the middle of all the activity going on,” Jones said.

Finally, Jones added, his own department also will move into the old human resources building soon. It currently is located in a credit union building near city hall.