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Public works growing: Two new buildings on the horizon

West Fargo City Commissioners voiced unanimous approval Monday night for two new buildings for the public works department - an equipment storage facility located at the public works headquarters, at 810 12th Ave. NW, and another to be used for offices and break and locker rooms at the sanitation department offices at 117 8th St. W.

This item originally came before the commission Sept. 17 but was tabled so further discussion could pursue. Since the work will now begin a month later than initially planned, Public Works Director Barry Johnson told the commission the project would be done in two phases, with the 81-by-144 square foot storage building constructed first so it is ready in the event of any bad weather. "We don't want to get caught if something happens."

The structure, which will be located immediately west of the present public works building, will have drive through doors and be fully insulated with 16 separate stalls, all high enough to accommodate the largest city equipment.

The second project will begin once the first is done and involve tearing down the western portion of the current sanitation department headquarters and attaching a 54-by-54 square foot building as well as moving some parking around so access would be from 8th Street. The newly exposed west wall of the existing building will also be resided. Once the office is up, city crews will complete the interior which will result in a considerable savings.

Contracts for the work were awarded to Morton Buildings with the condition they have until Dec. 15 to complete the work

instead of the original Nov. 15, because of the timeline delay. Respective low bids were $79,646 for the sanitation offices and $369,847 for the equipment storage structure.

Johnson said the city budget had contained about $200,000 more for the project which will go towards lighting, landscaping and other needs.

City Commissioner Duane Hanson who was in favor of the delay at the September meeting so the board could be better informed commended Johnson for taking the time to sit down and further explain the proposal. "I think it makes a lot of sense. It is the right place at the right time and I want to say thank you."

The board also approved their first façade grant/loan application request received from Off the Wall Advertising, operated by Greg and Alison Dye, for their new location in the former West Fargo Pioneer offices at 322 Sheyenne St.

The Dyes purchased the property in January of 2012 and did a total demolition and renovation of the interior space completed June 15 at a cost of approximately $100,000.

Economic Development and Community Services Director Mark Vaux, who presented the application, said the Dyes are now turning their focus to the exterior and hearing of the city's new program decided to make application.

They would like to complete the exterior work yet this year at a cost of approximately $40,000 which will include some resurfacing and stucco, painting, office signage and lighting, as well as parking lot and landscaping enhancements.

Vaux said the plan was approved by the Economic Development Advisory Committee by a 15-0 vote after much discussion regarding parking lot work. "We don't want this program to become parking lot repair; we wanted it truly to be a façade improvement program." He said the request will allow for parking lot repair but capped at ten percent of the cost.

The board voted unanimously to approve the application for not more than the program limit of $20,000.

Mayor Rich Mattern said he viewed this project as a good one and would like to see it completed as soon as possible "so others can look at it and see what can happen" thanks to this program.

Commissioner Mark Simmons commended Vaux for his initiative in developing the course of action and seeing it through.

In other action, the commission:

-approved a temporary conditional use permit for Tory Nissen to construct an outbuilding at 323 30th Ave. N.W.;

-okayed a request from Faith Lutheran Church officials to install a right-in/right-out access on 40th Ave. E. at the future site of Faith Lutheran Church in Lot 20, Block 3 of Westview First Addition;

-following a public hearing at which no one voiced protest, adopted a resolution determining that no protests were filed after a 30 day waiting period, for Street Improvement District 2016 which will result in water main, storm sewer, concrete streets, curb and gutter, miscellaneous installations, and anything else needed in connection with the work that will take place on Veterans Boulevard from 32nd to 40th Avenue;

-okayed a scaled back request for a planned unit development for multiple family development that includes two 36-plexes in Burlington 6th Addition.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place

Monday, Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.