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Council ponders name of new municipal building

KANNAPOLIS — Council members realized something important Monday night: You can’t fight City Hall.
The council spent 45 minutes trying to come up with a name for the new City Hall and Police Headquarters — but realized that moniker was probably the best option.
Annette Privette Keller, director of communications, presented council members with a list of seven names to consider. Mayor Darrell Hinnant had promised a “freewheeling discussion,” and the debate that followed was exactly that.
City Manager Mike Legg said that now was the time to choose a name, so that it could be used in legal documents, newspaper articles and in the city’s branding efforts.
“They’re not terribly exciting,” Keller noted of the list of names, “but they do convey what the building will be used for.
Council members dove in quickly with responses.
Councilman Ryan Dayvault said he liked the name “Kannapolis Citizens Center,” because the building is for the public. He said he did not like the name “Kannapolis Government Center” because of a negative connotation of the word “government.”
Councilman Tom Kincaid said he felt the police headquarters’ presence needed to be noted on any signage. He liked the idea of the name “Kannapolis Municipal Center” because it covers multiple areas of local government.
Councilman Darrell Jackson has had his business downtown for 30 years, and said the name “City Hall” should be included. He said his vote was for “Kannapolis City Hall and Police Headquarters.”
Mayor Pro Tem Roger Haas disagreed.
“The name ‘City Hall’ conjures up to me to be old-school,” he said. “I think we need to be more forward-looking.” He liked the idea of “Kannapolis Citizens Center” or “Kannapolis Municipal Center.”
“Are we limited to these names?” Councilman Doug Wilson asked. He proposed a sign with “Kannapolis Citizens Center,” having a tagline of “City Hall and Police Headquarters.”
Building on Wilson’s comments, Dayvault said he preferred “Kannapolis Citizens Center” in larger letters, with smaller letters underneath indicating the building’s functionality.
“I’m hearing no love for ‘City Hall,’” Legg said.
Nevertheless, Wilson pointed out, “I think that the average person is gonna understand what ‘City Hall’ means, versus ‘Municipal.’”
Haas persisted with his viewpoint.
“If I’m putting a meeting together, it’s gonna be at City Hall,” he says. “I can’t conjure having a sales meeting or wedding reception at City Hall. A municipal center would be more inclusive.”
Dayvault then suggested “Kannapolis Citizens Center: Municipal and Police Headquarters.”
“Does that make anybody any more comfortable?” Hinnant asked. “‘Citizens Center’ does make it more inclusive.”
“That’s a lot of words on a building,” Legg admitted, “but it’s a big building.”
Dayvault then threw out “Kannapolis Citizens Center: City Hall & Police Headquarters.”
“If you use ‘City Hall’ and ‘Police Headquarters,’ people know what you’re saying,” he said.
The motion passed 6-1, with Haas dissenting.
“That’s way too long,” he said.
But the discussion wasn’t over.
“When I think of citizens, I think of senior citizens,” said Kincaid, who owns a retirement center.
“That’s who we are,” Hinnant quipped.
After still more discussion, council members decided to reconsider their previous vote to submit two ideas to the architects: “Kannapolis Citizens Center: City Hall and Police Headquarters,” and “Kannapolis Municipal Center and Police Headquarters.”
“Do you actually think that within two weeks of the building opening that 95 percent of the people won’t know where it is?” Wilson asked.
“Those buildings on the research campus all look alike,” Legg pointed out.
“Doug, every day somebody comes into my business wanting to find City Hall,” Jackson said.
The motion to reconsider passed unanimously, as did the new motion to submit the two names.
“You have to spell things out for people,” Jackson said after the meeting.

In other business:

• Kenneth J. Woodward was recognized for his service on the Planning and Zoning Commission, with Richard Chaney and Jeff Ashbaugh commended for their service on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Those two men had served since 2000.

• Jeff Mullis was recognized as Volunteer of the Month for his work with Opportunity House. A lively contingent of 20 friends and family members came to support him.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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