ELYRIA — City Council on Monday again discussed preliminary plans for a new Central Maintenance Garage, which if built would replace a 47-year-old building that has outgrown its capacity and outlived its usefulness.
The maintenance garage on Garden Street was built in 1972. Since 2011, the city has discussed replacing it, though efforts previously have come to a halt over how to pay for what would be a multimillion-dollar project.
How the city plans to pay for the building has yet to be worked out, Safety Service Director Siwierka noted. Doing the project in two phases would be easier on the city budget, Finance Director Ted Pileski said in January.
“It’s all about ‘Where are we going to find the money for this?’” Siwierka said Monday.
Anissa Neider, an architect with MS Consultants, told City Council on Monday that the project can be done in two phases, allowing workers to move essential services from across the street into the proposed 90,000- to 100,000-square-foot facility. Her firm designs similar projects for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The new facility would nearly double the existing space to house offices, sanitation and other city service vehicles and allow the expensive equipment to be housed out of the elements, Neider and city officials said.
Siwierka said the new building would bring all city mechanics and welders serving the fire department, wastewater department and sanitation department together in a single building, as opposed to them being in separate buildings across the city.
The current building sits on a landfill that is beginning to settle, making the land unstable for further construction. It also lacks office space, a proper lunchroom, showers, changing and locker facilities for employees and a proper inventory control system for city equipment, Siwierka said.
A wash bay for city trucks and an above-ground fueling station also would be added to the property, Neider and Siwierka said. The city’s road salt storage dome would remain at the Garden Street site, and the existing building used for storage.
Senior Fleet Manager Joe Strohsack said having all his mechanics, some of whom work on “specific vehicles or specific problems” on sophisticated, state-of-the-art service equipment, in the same location would help them cross-train to troubleshoot problems when other mechanics are off or on vacation and help with staffing issues during busy winter weather events.
Moving the city’s fleet indoors — Strohsack said the city has more than 160 vehicles in its inventory and hundreds more smaller pieces of equipment — also would extend their service time and prevent the city from having to spend money to replace them due to wear and tear or exposure to the elements.
Approving construction of the building now, Neider said in response to a question from Council President Mike Lotko, would allow bids to go out within four to six months and possibly allow construction to begin in spring 2020.