• Highway, street departments could share space
BROOKINGS – Why stop at just one?
If a shared facility is working for Brookings city and county offices, maybe it could work for a space to store machinery used by their respective street and highway departments.
Don Larson told his fellow Brookings County commissioners Tuesday that Brookings City Manager Jeff Weldon mentioned the idea to him recently, and he has since spoken about it with Mayor Tim Reed.
“He thought it was certainly worth exploring,” Larson said of Reed. “So, with us going to be scaring up a half -million (dollars) on improvements in our existing facility, Jeff (Weldon) or the mayor would appoint a couple people, if this board would agree to do the same, to research and see what cooperative efforts might be in the future for the city, the county, to work together on a joint-use facility.”
The two entities would need to relocate everything, including their fueling stations, if they were to join transportation facilities, Larson said. But it may be a better option than pouring money into older, less efficient buildings.
“Before we spend close to $400,000 on a structure in our old facility, maybe we should take a look at what opportunities exist in the future and, if it was proper, that monies be placed into a new and better facility, co-located,” he said.
“And the city does have property close to where the state DOT (Department of Transportation) is. So we could, if it would work, have all those public transportation facilities in one area.”
Deanna Santema, commission chairwoman, said she has talked with both Weldon and Reed about the possibility as well. She asked her fellow commissioners to add the idea to their discussions during ongoing budget hearings, and none objected.
“I think, as you say, if there’s going to be any changes made, it behooves us to do this now, rather than later, after we’ve put x-amount of dollars into a facility,” Santema said.
Weldon said Tuesday that the idea could include the county highway department, city street department and possibly the city park maintenance department.
He said the city has not yet discussed the cost of its facility needs for these departments because conversations are just beginning about a joint transportation facility.
Weldon said he hopes to meet with commission members to explore their interest in such a facility, then see how the city council wants to proceed.
Contact Charis Prunty at firstname.lastname@example.org