It ended with a contentious, two-hour debate and a tie vote broken by Mayor Al Foeckler.
Now, Oak Creek aldermen and city leaders will try to put that vote behind them and move forward on what's been called one of the top development sites in the Milwaukee area.
"I think the job of the council moving forward, and the next mayor and the next council, is to grasp the opportunity and make the most of it," Foeckler said.
Foeckler expects it to take two years before one or both civic buildings are constructed on the Delphi site, 7929 S. Howell Ave.
They could be built at the same time, or the council could choose to stagger construction and build the library first. Decisions will also have to be made on the size, design and cost of each building.
But Foeckler said he wouldn't be surprised if private development started in the meantime. Officials say talks have been held privately with several companies that have expressed interest in the site.
"There are businesses already that want in on this concept," Foeckler said of the town center proposal, which creates a sort of downtown for Oak Creek and includes a mix of housing, office space and retail.
"There may be restaurants, retailers, health care providers out there that want to get in and occupy space there. Ultimately, the council is going to adopt a master plan development and lay out the streets and we're going to know where buildings can go and where parking is going to be. Once that's in place, there's going to be development that precedes city hall and library, and I would expect that to happen."
Alderman Ken Gehl, who voted for the plan, said the council has proven it can make difficult decisions and then move on with the business of Oak Creek. Everyone realizes the opportunity at Delphi, the job creation possibilities and the boost it could give to the city's tax base, he said.
"There were differing opinions, given the split vote on the council. That's OK. That's what the political process is for," he said. "Now it's time to get the planning process going full steam."
Alderman Steve Scaffidi, who voted against the plan, agreed, saying "we have to focus now on what's going to happen there, and how soon it's going to happen, what kind of jobs we're going to bring into this town ... to go back and revisit (last week's vote) serves no purpose."
The next immediate steps are finalizing the details of a proposed land swap and forming a tax-incremental financing district on the 85-acre Delphi site.
Under the land swap, the school district exchanges 50 acres of land at Oakwood and Howell avenues for the Civic Center site, at the corner of Puetz and Howell. The Civic Center site could then potentially be used for a future expansion of Oak Creek High School, while the land on Oakwood could be used in the development of a business park.
The city of Oak Creek would get seven acres at the Delphi property to construct the library and city hall.
The Oak Creek-Franklin School Board met in closed session Monday to confer with legal counsel and discuss the exchange of properties. The school district has previously said it is open to the swap and city officials say the general parameters of the deal are agreed upon.
The city will also create a tax-incremental financing district at the Delphi site. TIF districts allows municipalities or developers to borrow money for redevelopment, and repay the loan using the increased tax increment.
Foeckler reiterated that no new tax dollars will be used to construct the city hall or library. The city will use money it gets annually through the We Energies power plant on Elm Road.
"I think people may have mis-perceived that," he said. "That money we're using to build these buildings, we'll invest in that area and get a higher return, in my opinion. I hope that the taxpayers recognize and understand that."