Council progressing on maintenance facility
Plans for a comprehensive Citywide Central Maintenance Garage Facility for the city of Elyria picked up steam Feb. 12 during City Council’s finance committee meeting.
Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka shared the consideration of the new garage to committee members Jan. 29 due to the current condition of the facility and what it lacks.
What is now an official project for the city, Council will progress in developing a design and costs for the facility.
Built in the 1970s, the garage is located on top of what was a city landfill at 851 Garden St.
Today, the building is strategically, technologically and environmentally deficient, Siwierka said.
The garage is 34,000 square feet and houses departments and its fleets such as sanitation, street, water distribution, parks and recreation, forestry division, maintenance garage and communications department.
Along with the central maintenance garage, there are two other off-site locations where services can be performed, such as the former Broad Street Elyria Fire Station and the wastewater pollution control plant.
Third Ward Councilman Mark N. Jessie and Seventh Ward Councilman Jack W. Cerra were appointed by the city to serve the project and toured the facilities to present issues to the administration of Mayor Holly Brinda.
At the maintenance garage, a few updates have taken place over the years, but the facility has still outlived its useful life and needs reconstruction, Siwierka said.
The building and parking lot are outdated, she said.
Siwierka also presented several issues inside the garage such as plumbing systems and fuel tanks.
There are some issues with drainage, noncompliant wiring, failed insulation, year-round insect and rodent problems.
The maintenance garage also lacks working space for each department, Siwierka said.
With not enough working space, some departments have trucks outside during harsh weather conditions, as well as limited space for inventory.
Some departments go without lunch or restroom facilities, too, she said.
Issues at both off-site locations include small spaces, lighting, drainage and ventilation, Siwierka said.
However, in each small and isolated area, both the Fire Department and the wastewater plant only have one full time mechanic working, she said.
Each department works on multiple services for the city, but does not have enough space or storage to hold equipment, Siwierka said.
Joe Strohsack, senior fleet manager of the maintenance garage, said newer equipment has become sophisticated.
If mechanics could all work together under one roof, they could learn how to use them together, Strohsack said.
“We need a place to learn and be familiar with other jobs,” she said.
Advancements in technology are changing equipment, Siwierka said.
Members of each department need to cross train and save money with centralized equipment, maintenance and repairs, she said.
In the presentation given to the city, Siwierka noted Elyria owns land — which is across the street from current location — that could be utilized for a new garage.
With funds from the passage of Issue 6, it can supply new and updated equipment to the maintenance garage and off-site garages, Siwierka said.
“Funding for a new garage complex is yet to be determined,” she said.
However, most likely, it could be funded through a small “building” fund that was established a few years ago, Siwierka said.