Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Councilor urges swift hall restoration

By Huang Chung-shan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taichung City Councilor Chiang Chao-kuo gestures in front of the Taichung Prefectural Hall on Sunday.

Photo: Huang Chung-shan, Taipei Times

Government offices should be moved out of Taichung Prefectural Hall to allow restoration work to begin, Taichung City Councilor Chiang Chao-kuo (江肇國) said on Sunday.

Built in 1912, the building features a mansard roof with red brick walls, white columns and small roof windows. The former prefectural halls in Taipei, which is now the Control Yuan building, and in Tainan, which is now the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, are in a similar style.

Since its designation as a city monument in 2006, groups have lobbied for the Taichung building’s status to be upgraded to a national monument.

With the exception of the former Kaohsiung prefectural hall, which has been demolished, all of the five other major prefectural halls that were built during the Japanese colonial era have been made national monuments, so there is no reason not to designate the Taichung Prefectural Hall a national monument, Chiang said.

Last year, in response to Chiang’s calls, then-Taichung mayor Lin Chia-lung’s (林佳龍) administration filed an application with the Ministry of Culture for the building to be reviewed and declared a national monument.

The ministry on Feb. 24 approved the reclassification and the new designation is expected to be officially announced at the end of this month or early next month.

The restoration should begin as soon as possible, Chiang said.

The central government would not be bearing all of the project’s costs, as the Taichung City Government has allocated NT$250 million (US$8.11 million) toward it, he said, adding that the city government should lead operations at the building after the restoration is complete.

The building should be turned into a space for collecting and exhibiting local literature, music and film, he said.

To save money on rent, Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) said that the city government offices at the site — which includes offices of the Taichung Urban Development Bureau, the Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau and the Taichung Transportation Bureau — are to be moved to the Taichung City Police Department’s offices after the department relocates to Tanzih District (潭子) next year, Chiang said.

As a result, the restoration could be delayed by more than a year, he said, adding that the city is also considering keeping the building as government offices.

The Environmental Protection Bureau is to move out of its office at the end of June, while the space occupied by divisions of the Urban Development Bureau are to be adjusted to allow restoration work to proceed in stages, the Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau said, adding that the project would begin this year.

It would listen to the advice of the city council and the public when considering how the building should be used after the restoration, the Cultural Affairs Bureau said.

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