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$21 million public works facility pitched to council

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Monticello Public Works Director Matt Leonard believes his public works department could be in a new home in the Spring of 2023.

The public works department is located in an over-crowded facility at 901 and 909 Golf Course Road where trucks and other equipment jockey for space in a facility filled from wall to wall.

City plans call for a new $21 million facility on the city’s south side- preferable on Dalton Avenue in the Otter Creek Industrial Park. A second site on School Boulevard near the city’s water tower has also been identified as a potential site for a new public works facility.

Leonard pitched the proposed public works facility before the Monticello City Council during a 5 p.m. special meeting on Monday, March 22.

In addition to the crowded conditions at its Golf Course Road headquarters, Matt Leonard noted that there is additional storage for his department at seven different locations within the city. The new facility would accommodate all of the city’s trucks and equipment, such as lawnmowers, plows, and other equipment.

Leonard said city staff is proposing to build a facility it feels will meet the needs of the city for the next 40 to 50 years, he told members of the city council.

The goal, Leonard said, is to build an all-inclusive facility that would meet the future needs of the public works department. Plans do not incorporate the future plans for the existing public works facility at 901 and 909 Golf Course Road, or the former fire station on Sixth Street, which is currently used to meet some of the public works department’s needs, Leonard said.

Leonard said a public works committee recommended the Otter Creek Industrial Park site because parcels needed for the facility are owned by the city or the EDA. The facility would also be consistent with existing uses in the industrial park and have better access to downtown Monticello, where a great concentration of the public works department work takes place. 

Leonard laid out an aggressive plan for getting a public works facility built by the Spring of 2023. In a plan presented to the city council, Leonard proposed hiring an architect and starting facility design in May. By July, a general contractor would be selected.

If all goes as plans, the various aspects of the project would go out for bid in November, with construction contracts being awarded in December.

Construction would take place throughout 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, with a move-in date proposed for the Spring of 2023.

When completed, the facility would be home to an estimated 17 large trucks such as single-axle and double-axle plow trucks; 24 medium-sized vehicles such as large pick-up trucks; 45 small vehicles such as standard pick-up trucks and street sedans; and 45 smaller pieces of equipment, such as mowers and carts. Future growth projections show the city would add just one piece of equipment in each size class over the next 30 to 40 years, Leonard said.

In addition to a space for vehicles, the public works facility is proposed to include an offices, and areas for vehicle maintenance. Department shops and cold storage would also be incorporated into the buildings on site. Also in the plans is a storage area for salt and sand, storage bins for materials, a fuel island that would provide gasoline to city vehicles, employee parking, a site yard and green space.

With a $21 million estimated price tag, city finance director Sarah Rathlisberger laid out a potential bonding scenario for the facility. After contributions from public works department funds, Rathlisberger estimated a need to bond for $15.3 million of the project. She estimated the city would take out a 30-year bond, but that is negotiable.

Not too long ago, it appeared a future public works facility would be built on the city’s former Edmondson Farm site at Edmondson Avenue NE near 85th Avenue in what is now Monticello Township. But that site has gone to a developer as part of a land-swap deal that will eventually result in the expansion of the UMC manufacturing facility on Chelsea Road. The developer who now owns the Edmondson farm site is construction a housing development there.

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Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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