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The city board approved a $750,000 purchase agreement during its meeting on Tuesday night for a property located at 510 S. Lincoln St., the proposed location of the city's new maintenance shop facility.

The city maintenance shop facility, currently located at 917 E. Main St., is where repairs and maintenance are done on city vehicles and equipment. Talks about repairing or replacing it began in 2015, according to a city staff report. The continued use of the facility on Main Street has been a concern of city staff and the board, with the most obvious being its size, with only one loading bay and two overhead doors for vehicles and equipment to be brought in and worked on, City Administrator Phillip Patterson said.

This is problematic when a vehicle or piece of equipment is brought in, because by the time the issue is addressed, city employees often have to rearrange or remove the equipment that came in after it to get it out, he said. When deliberating about the 2018 budget in 2017, the city estimated that it would end 2018 with about $800,000 in additional revenues, according to a city staff report.

Now, however, it is estimated that once the city finishes 2018 capital projects, that total additional revenues for 2018 will be $1.2 million. At that time, city staff recommended that these monies be put into reserves for future projects and listed a new maintenance shop as a possible option for one of those projects.

The city checked which would be cheaper, to improve the existing facility or to construct a new one, according to a city staff report. Estimates from architects came back at $1.9 million to construct a new one and $1.4 million to make necessary repairs on the existing one.

The proposed property is owned by Utility Tri-State Inc., who recently purchased property in West Siloam Springs with intentions of relocating there, if they are able to sell the property, according to a city staff report. One of its benefits is its size is five acres with 1.2 acres of fenceable area.

This is compared to the existing facility, which sits on 1.14 acres with a fenced area of .8 acres. The existing facility is 5,380 square feet and the new facility would have 10,720 square feet with five loading bays for equipment, 1,200 square feet for inventory and 1,200 square feet for office space, break rooms and a locker room for employees.

An issue with the property, however, is that it sits almost entirely in a floodplain, Patterson said. When Ward 2 Director Brad Burns asked about this, Patterson said the possibility of the property being damaged sometime in the future is both "hypothetical and something to worry about."

He added that in the time that he and the current city staff have worked in their respective positions, this particular area hasn't experienced any significant rain events that would merit cause for concern. Nonetheless, he said that if the city is going to move the facility there, a plan will have to be developed to protect it from the possibility of flooding.

412 median grant

Another highlight of Tuesday's meeting was the approval of a grant from Walton Family Foundation for $263,000 that will be used for improvements to the median on U.S. Highway 412. This was one of the board's goals for 2017-2018 and the project's design was first presented to the board in October. The presentation broke the median up into six sections.

Each section will contain a species of tree that is different from the species in the section before and after it, and either Carissa Holly bushes or Little Bluestem Grass will be placed in between each tree and alternate from section to section, according to an Oct. 21 report from the Herald-Leader. The project will also include constructing three feet of concrete on both sides of the median and on Tuesday, Community Development Director Don Clark said that the public should know that this concrete will be inside the existing median and that its width will remain unchanged.

Residential developments

There were two notable housing developments on the night's agenda. The first was application to rezone the 10.02 acre property located at 801 E. Lake Francis Drive from R-2 to R-4. The proposal was approved by the planning commission during their Jan. 8 meeting and was first reviewed by the board on Jan. 15, where it received backlash from residents who primarily cited concerns about increased traffic and drainage.

A representative of Upward Housing Group -- who is the entity tasked with overseeing the project -- told the board on Tuesday that they have a new plan for the development, which will be to construct 80 senior housing units, most of which will be single-family units. This appeased one resident who spoke against it in the last meeting and it received little more discussion before the board approved it in a 6-0 vote. It will be read for the final time during the board's next meeting.

Another proposal involved both an ordinance to rezone, and a resolution to authorize a preliminary plat permit, for a 8.04 acre lot located on the 100 Block of N. Lincoln St. It is zoned as I-2 (light industrial) and the applicant is requesting to rezone a part of it to C-2 (roadway commercial), and the remainder to R-3 (residential, two-family), according to a city staff report. Though it's uncertain what will go in the area, the proposal creates a new commercial lot and 22 new two-family lots.

In other business, the board:

• Approved (6-0) the purchase of a rear-load wash truck for the public works department in the amount of $235,000.

• Approved (6-0) the purchase of a John Deere Tractor Boom Mower for the public works department in the amount of $124,000.

• Approved (6-0) a motion to place an ordinance on its first reading that would amend a chapter of the municipal code to allow the city to be better able to adapt to the federal and state legislation pertaining to impending arrival of "5G" internet technology.

• Approved (6-0) a motion to place an ordinance on its first reading that would amend a chapter of the municipal code relating to the naming and numbering of city streets and buildings.

• Approved (6-0) a motion to place an ordinance on its first reading that would permit the annexation of 20.707 acres of county land into city limits.

• Approved (6-0) a resolution to authorize a significant development permit that was requested to construct a 5,928-square-foot shopping center on the 3600 Block of U.S. Highway 412.

General News on 02/10/2019

Print Headline: Board approves $750,000 property purchase for new maintenance shop

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