Thursday, October 18, 2018 Elyria 43°
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Elyria's Finance Committee wants design proposals for new garage

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ELYRIA — City Council’s Finance Committee said it would like to see design proposals for a new central maintenance garage.

Council members are leaning toward constructing a new garage to replace a 40-year-old structure on Garden Street, but the city needs more information before proceeding. Council will formally vote today to put out a Request for Proposals for the new facility that also will include a cost estimate.

Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said the RFP will allow design engineers to determine the size of the building needed and offer the city options on the facility.

“Right now, we don’t have any hard numbers,” she said. “We know we have a piece of land, but we don’t know if we can use it. There are a lot of things that need to be developed to get us from Point A to Point B.”

Joe Strohsack, the city’s senior fleet manager, said he would like Council to consider replacing the building built four decades ago.

“Being 40 years old means we have all 40-year-old technology from our heating to our cooling,” he said.

The current maintenance garage is built on a former landfill that prevents the city from building on the land, he said.

Strohsack said a new facility would allow him to bring all of the city’s mechanics from three buildings — central maintenance, wastewater treatment plant and fire — under one roof.

“There is no way to keep the hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment indoors,” he said. “The equipment is getting so sophisticated that we have to start cross training. If the fire mechanic is out, there is little we would be able to do for the Fire Department because we just don’t know about it and vice versa the other way around.”

Siwierka said as the city evaluates its options it has roughly $305,000 in a fund dating to 2009 when former Mayor Bill Grace first considered building a new facility. Then, the city spent about $24,000 to study using the former Moen building as the new city garage. However, after the study showed the building was not feasible and the city hit hard financial times, plans to build a new garage were shelved.

“This isn’t anything to be done in a few days,” Siwierka said. “We have to get someone in to give us a design, give us some details and let us know all our options.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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