Project tracker: Elkhorn planning to build new public works garage

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Jonah Beleckis
Monday, October 9, 2017

What is it: Elkhorn plans to build a new department of public works maintenance facility because the existing city garage is “in pretty much disrepair,” City Administrator Sam Tapson said.

The current facility at 12 E. First Ave. is about 50 or 60 years old, he said. City officials had been considering the project for years and eventually acquired a 5-acre parcel at 401 E. Centralia St.

What's happened so far: A design consultant, Barrientos, conducted a space needs analysis, Tapson said. The consultants said the size of the building should be in the neighborhood of 40,000 square feet.

The existing building once was owned by the county and later acquired by the city.

The new site had agriculture-related contaminants, but the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has cleared the space and says it can be used again, Tapson said. Some restrictions placed on the site remain, although Tapson added they would not impede with site redevelopment.

What's happening now: Barrientos submitted a preliminary layout for the facility. After seeing the layout, city council members and city staff made some suggested revisions, Tapson said.

For example, they asked that a proposed large office space be changed into a more functional area, he said.

“What we're doing now,” he said, “(is) we're moving walls—not physically, but on paper.”

Barrientos will come back with two or three options for the council to consider. Probable cost estimates will accompany those new options, Tapson said.

What's happening next: Tapson declined to give cost estimates now because there are too many unknowns.

“It's always problematic to throw dollars at it before we at least have a probable cost estimate,” he said.

Part of the financing for the project will come from general obligation debt, Tapson said. Some money could be charged to the sewer utility as well because public works and the sewer utility are common operations, he added.

Once city officials pick a layout they like, they will ask for a three-dimensional, architectural design, Tapson said.

Completion timeline: A completion date has not been set, but Tapson said preliminary work can be done early next year, depending on the weather.

He said he expects a “significant” amount of work to be done throughout 2018, even if the exact completion date is unclear.

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