Gladstone Public Works may get new facility

GLADSTONE – After more than 40 years at its current location, the Gladstone Department of Public Works could have a new and more spacious home.

The current DPW facility, located at 27 Delta Ave., was constructed in 1971 as a temporary facility to protect equipment that was being stored outside from the elements.

“Not much has been done to this building since then,” said Barry Lund, public works director.

In addition to being too small for the city’s needs, the current facility has difficulty with heating and some of the garage doors do not open properly.

The new heated building would be 20,000 square feet and include two offices, a break room, locker room, bathroom, mechanic’s bay, and equipment storage. An additional 8,000 square feet of outside, covered, cold storage will be adjacent to the building.

“We did get six bids and we’re in the process of analyzing them. We haven’t made a decision yet,” City Manager Darla Falcon told the Daily Press. “We’re hoping to bring that to the commission here shortly and then work on funding.”

While the commission has taken no action on the new facility, they were made aware of the plans during the regular city commission meeting Monday night, and other actions taken by the commission in the have prompted the city to work towards the construction of the new building.

“Recently they sold our outside storage to a company that’s going to come in, so right now we have no fenced in outside storage,” said Lund.

In December of 2012 the city approved the sale of the land surrounding the DPW building to K&M Industrial LLC for $48,000. The company contracts with the U.S. Coast Guard and provides dockside ship repair, on site welding, and maintenance on fire, bilge, and AC pumps.

The first phase of the development is the construction of an industrial maintenance rebuilding and manufacturing complex and parking area on the former DPW storage site.

With the needs of the city outgrowing the current facility and the surrounding land being sold off for development, the city decided to build a new facility on a six acre parcel already own by the city down the street from the current facility on Delta Avenue.

“We had looked at a few other parcels in town. There was talk of us going up on the bluff as far as our industrial park, but about 75 percent of our workload is on this side of U.S. 2 and 41 so it just makes economical sense to stay where your work is,” said Lund, adding that moving to a location on the bluff would add between 35 and 40 minutes a day of travel time per worker.

Currently seven DPW employees work in the building. In the summer months as many as 50 workers can be based at the department.

“We’re packed in here pretty tight,” said Lund, noting that he shared his office with the city’s geographical information systems operator and that reading blueprints meant commandeering the department’s break room table.

In addition to doubling the office space available for DPW staff, the new building will allow for better storage of both DPW equipment and equipment from other city departments – such as beach equipment from the recreation department during the winter months.

“What other people don’t want to look at we look at,” said Lund.

The new facility will also include a vehicle lift – something the department does not currently have – which makes working on vehicles safer.

“We’re the maintenance facility for most of the equipment used in the city. Whether its used on the streets or public safety basically our mechanic is the one who looks at it,” said Lund.

Public Works also maintains roads, provides sewer maintenance and repair, and takes care of public property in the city not managed by other departments such as Fernwood Cemetery and the city compost site.