Flushing Town Hall got a fresh look recently with the completion of $2 million worth of improvements to the exterior structure and side yard garden.
Elected officials and arts mavens came together last Thursday to officially cut the ribbon on the completed work, which began last year. It was funded by the Borough President’s Office, the city Department of Cultural Affairs and Queens members of the City Council.
The work was designed to bring the building up to code, add more accessible space and restore the portico with historical accuracy. A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building.
Work included restoring the deteriorated wood at the entry and balcony, rebuilding the masonry entry steps and cleaning metalwork. Improved signage, lighting and landscaping were also added.
The garden, located to the east of the building, received improvements to the ground surface, seating, lighting and planting and will be used as a performance space.
Built in 1862, the landmark town hall is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. It originally housed Civil War troops and served as a recruitment center. It later operated as a police station, with a jail, and a traffic court. In later years, it was a privately owned dinner theater and used for office space, but fell into disrepair until the city took it over in 1989.
The city previously spent $10 million for interior restorations. The building is run by the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, which sponsors concerts, exhibits, and other arts programs.
Flushing Town Hall became a national landmark in 1972. A few years ago, it became part of the city’s prestigious Cultural Institutions Group, 33 organizations from the five boroughs on city property.