CROWN POINT | Efforts are underway to combine the city's sprawling public works department under a single roof.
Negotiations for the acquisition of property at 705 Industrial Blvd. for a public works location were authorized Wednesday by the Board of Public Works and Safety.
A 20,000-square-foot shell on the property would be built out and an 8,000-square-foot building would be constructed, if the deal is completed, Mayor David Uran said.
The need for a central location came to light in a facility usage report prepared by a committee of City Council members and city administrative staff.
"The public works department has been in need of a new facility for a long time. It's entirely spread out throughout the city, and it's not very efficient," Uran said.
Departments falling under the public works umbrella are spread among buildings at 611 N. Johnson St., which houses the Street Department; 590 S. Anderson, housing the Water and Sewer Department; and 1321 Merrillville Road, housing vehicle maintenance work.
A single structure would not only combine the nearly 70-person work force under one roof, but relieve stress on residential areas which currently are home to a few public works department buildings, officials said.
Bob Clemons, a Public Works and Safety board member, said he'd visited other communities to get a better idea of how the city's facilities compare.
"We're behind the times," Clemons said. A single location "will make it more efficient. This is a cost savings."
Other city departments needing more or better space have not been forgotten, Clemons said. And a new City Hall could be on the horizon at some point, he said.
Public Works Department Director Jay Olson said the move for his department "has been a long time coming."
The board authorized using Financial Solutions Group and the legal firm Ice Miller as consultants in negotiations for the Industrial Boulevard location.