Marek presents plan to solve to building problems

By: 
Wade Young

A new proposal that would solve many of the city’s aging building problems was presented at a city council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Resident Bill Marek introduced his plan after he recently toured city buildings with Mayor Tom Eisert and City Administrator Brian Heck.

Marek determined of all the city’s facilities, the police department was in most dire need of something new and safe. He called his plan the “Hybrid City” idea for emergency services, a nod to the hybrid plan from the mid-2000s, that changed the former elementary school on Highway 13/2 to a high school and created an elementary and middle school campus on Second Street.

“I felt that using the same name would perhaps be good luck,” Marek quipped.

Marek’s plan included two smaller new buildings on city-owned lots, saving the city money from renting storage units, and continuing use of the existing police and fire departments.

Before presenting his ideas, Marek posed the question: “Can we turn a $6.7 million failed bond project into one for less than $3 million?”

His plan included 11 points:
1. The police department vacates its building.

2. The city builds a new building with two to three parking bays for vehicles - size to be determined - but more than what they have now (900 square feet).

3. Public works takes over area vacated by police department - including parking bays and offices. Repair gutters and roof, and verify building for structural soundness.

4. Fire Department would like a six-bay new fire station. However, the city could build a smaller version (maybe three to four bays). Not sure if the build would be now or in the future - but at least this way the department knows something new is coming.

One condition: the fire department would need to agree to use City Hall and an auxiliary Fire Station No. 2 for storage of parade vehicles and secondary-use vehicles like the grass rig and Pumper No. 2. Instead of having these vehicles stored at Hruby Rentals, like it has been done for many years, the City Hall would be storage.

“I thought it would be nice and a nod to the city’s heritage if the fire department partially stays on the property it has called home for more than 130 years,” he said.

5. The ambulance stays at City Hall. Instead of using the small south bay, the ambulance and future units could use the larger east bays of the building.

6. With respect to the new fire stations, it would be REQUIRED that a variety of building options be prices, including Morton-type structures. He emphasized that the city cannot be set on expecting the public to accept one type of structure. Take a careful look at other rural communities to see what they have done. What is the best deal for the citizens?

Read the rest in the print edition.

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