West Fargo eyes land for new public works building
West Fargo's Public Works Department wants to snap up land for a new public works building before it's too late. For several years, department Director Barry Johnson has been looking for a lot where the department's administrative and maintenance...
West Fargo's Public Works Department wants to snap up land for a new public works building before it's too late.
For several years, department Director Barry Johnson has been looking for a lot where the department's administrative and maintenance shops can be combined.
With rising land prices and dwindling land availability, the department decided it was time to get started, Johnson said.
So on Monday, the West Fargo City Commission authorized a bid of $100,000 for a nine-acre parcel on the north side of 12th Avenue West, though some commissioners said they prefer a spot somewhere farther south.
"I don't think we can continue to ignore the need for a public works building," Commissioner Brenda Warren said.
The Public Works Department is spread through two buildings. The maintenance shop at 117 8th St. W. houses the department's street, sewer, water and forestry divisions. The sanitation department, which would not move, also is on the lot.
Public Works rents space from the West Fargo Fire Department in the 100 block of First Street for its administrative offices and a wastewater lab.
"We've just got too many offices because we're getting too big," Johnson said.
In addition, the maintenance shop is dilapidated, Johnson said.
The department's proposed location north of 12th Avenue West is bound by the Sheyenne River to the east and the Sheyenne Diversion the north and west.
That would put it close to the Sheyenne Diversion pumping station and a drain pumping station, giving those locations better security, Johnson said.
But some commissioners said it may be more beneficial to put a building in a more central location or in the fast-growing south end of town.
"My concern is this is so far north," Commissioner Mark Simmons said.
Johnson said land prices were too high in other spots, and that the department plans to put a public works facility with a water tower south of the interstate.
He estimated the building would cost about $500,000, making a total project cost of $600,000 with the land purchase.
City Auditor Jim Brownlee said the city has about $502,000 set aside for the project. Johnson said the remaining funds would likely be requested over one or more budget periods.
In other action, commissioners:
- Started the annexation process for about 100 acres north of 12th Avenue, where Integrity Windows plans to build a 200,000 square foot production plant.
They also gave first approval to rezone the land from agricultural to heavy industrial.
- Agreed to allow a new business into the revised Renaissance Zone. Stockman's Supply, 802 W. Main Ave., plans a $267,000 remodeling project that would include its retail and vet areas and the exterior of the building.
Being part of the Renaissance Zone would save the business an estimated $2,000 a year in taxes, said Dorinda Anderson, West Fargo's business development director.
- Gave initial approval to an ordinance change that would specify where motorized scooters can be driven.
Scooters would be allowed on most streets, but not on some busy ones or on sidewalks, City Attorney Brian Neugebauer said.
"We had nothing on the motorized scooters and it's becoming more of a problem," Neugebauer said before the meeting.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556