Council Mulls Revamping Project to Finish Remodeling City West
(Front to back) Councilman Billy Montgomery, Mayor Louise Carter-King, Councilman Nathan McLeland, Councilman Shay Lundvall, and Councilman Shawn Neary
Remodeling City West is back on the radar, but the Gillette City Council still needs to review finalized plans to determine how much the project will cost before moving forward.
City Public Works Director Sawley Wilde provided the city council with a tour of the facility Tuesday evening, seeking to educate new council members on the remodeling project and refreshing the memories of council members, who had been a part of the original process in 2015.
“Right now, (Utilities Director Mike Cole) and I have had discussions with (City Administrator Patrick Davidson), and we just want to put it back on the council’s radar,” Wilde said. “It’s always been on the budget in the 5-year capital plan. Since 2016, we just keep bumping it out and bumping it out.”
The remodeling project was started in 2015 and was split into two phases to allow city employees in City West to continue working without skipping a beat while the remodeling was carried out. Once one phase of the project was complete, the other would begin immediately.
The original plan was to have each phase completed in 2016. Phase I was completed; however, the economic downturn in 2016 meant that the city had to hold off on implementing phase II.
Now, with the economy beginning to recover, ever so slightly, talks have begun to get phase II underway.
Before that happens, however, the city needs updated floor plans, as some aspects of the project and functions of City West have changed since 2015.
“I think the next phase, if the council is willing, is to get some updated plans going and updated costs going,” Wilde said. “We don’t really have any of that right now.”
City West was originally built in 1984 as part of a packaging and delivery company. The city purchased the facility in 1995, occupying it in 1996, to provide much-needed, heated vehicle storage, Wilde said.
City Communications Manager Geno Palazzari said that the city had been combating mechanical issues with storing vehicle’s outside in the winter months, such as the hydraulic lines on garbage trucks freezing.
City West had been the answer. The facility already had a number of vehicle bays in place, from the previous owner, which meant the city’s vehicle storage issue had been solved, for a time.
Wilde said that city staff started experiencing moisture issues with vehicles stored in the bays.
Sewer gas began filling certain areas, a result of sand and oil traps in the vehicle bays drying out, according to Palazzari.
There were also space constraints to consider; vehicles undergoing mechanical work in the bays had to be moved outside in the evening to make space for garbage trucks.
Eventually, the city ended up constructing a new vehicle storage facility just to the west, and moved the majority of their vehicles there.
The move resulted in a large amount of valuable work space available in City West, prompting the city to begin repurposing certain segments.
Tuesday night’s tour showcased what phase I of the remodeling had accomplished, including newly updated office space, reception areas, and conference rooms.
At the moment, City West provides a work center for more than 100 full-time city employees. It houses personnel from the solid waste, street, and utility departments.
Additionally, the facility houses certain support divisions, such as GIS.