Valpo preparing to build new public works campus

2013-04-08T23:15:00Z 2013-05-14T16:15:22Z Valpo preparing to build new public works campusBy Phil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | The city will know in 30 days whether it can immediately begin the process of issuing bonds for construction of a new public works campus at the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The council approved a resolution at its meeting Monday stating its intention to enter into a lease with a building corporation for the new facilities. The action is published in today's Times, which gives residents 30 days to file a remonstrance against it by collecting 100 signatures of people opposed to the bond issue.

The bond is expected to be $5.25 million, which would be paid off over a 17-year period. Residents won't notice a change in their tax bills if the bonds are issued because it would replace a parks department bond that will be paid off this year.

If a remonstrance is filed, a petition battle would determine if the project proceeds. If there is no remonstrance, the building corporation would be formed to issue the bonds.

The council enthusiastically approved the resolution.

"It will never be cheaper to borrow the money, and it will never to cheaper to build," Councilman John Bowker said.

Mayor Jon Costas proposed the new facilities in his first strategic plan about nine years ago.

"It has taken us far too long to come up with this plan, but it is the best plan we've had," Costas said.

Councilman Jan Dick said, "The place they have is deplorable, at best."

The city hired Chester Inc. to recommend the best location on the treatment plant grounds and prepare the plans for the buildings.

The project is expected to be under construction before the end of the year and ready for occupancy by summer 2014, which makes Public Works Director Matt Evans and his employees happy.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the residents and our staff," Evans said. "This will enable us to provide the level of service the residents have come to expect and to serve our future needs in addition to providing a safe, healthy work environment.

"The employees have heard for a long time of the mayor's interest in building, and they are happy it has finally come," Evans said.

Evans said the new facilities will increase the space under roof from 25,000 to about 40,000 square feet and enable the department to store and maintain all its equipment indoors.

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