WEB ONLY: Council decides to keep both projects together

At its Sept. 18 meeting, the Sandy City Council gave City Manager Scott Lazenby the go-ahead to start the process to build a $4.95 million combined transit/public works facility on 5 acres of land near the Sandy Cinema in the Pioneer Corporate Park on Industrial Way.

The council debated whether it would be cost effective to move public works right away or if it would be more prudent to build the transit portion of the project and move public works at a later date.

Ultimately, a majority of the council decided that moving public works as soon as possible was in the city's best interest because construction costs could rise in the coming years. The council also wants to take public works out of its current 4-acre residential zone facility on University Street.

Summing up the direction of the council, Steve Nerz said, 'Like the extension of Dubarko (Road), it's going to cost us a lot of money, but it's for the ultimate good. Ultimately public works ought to get out of that neighborhood, and I'd rather bite the bullet now and get it done.'

The combined field operations facility will include a park-and-ride station for the Sandy Area Metro bus service, offices, maintenance and storage space for buses, and operations space for the city's public works department.

The project originally had been estimated at $3 million, but after the Public Works Center Master Plan was completed this summer, the figure rose to nearly $6 million - largely due to increased construction costs. After cutting amenities and providing a phased plan, the initial cost of the first phase dropped to $4.95 million.

'We're down to pretty much the essentials,' Lazenby said. 'The use of space is more efficient.'

Funding for the project will come from about $1.75 million in federal and state grants, about $2.5 million from city funds and systems development charges. Much of the city share of the cost will be spread over many funds, such as the transit fund, the water/sewer fund, the streets fund, the stormwater fund and the general fund. The city may have to borrow the remaining amount - more than half a million dollars - which wouldn't require a public vote.

Lazenby now will work with a design firm to draw up specific plans for the center, with plans to award a building contract in late spring or early summer 2007.

When bids come back, the council could still vote to scrap the facility depending on project estimates.

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