Coun­cil pro­gress­ing on main­te­nance fa­cil­ity

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Bri­ana Con­tr­eras

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.

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