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City Ponders Site For Vehicle Center

There’s little debate among city officials that Spokane needs a new vehicle maintenance center.

The lingering doubt is where to build it and how to pay for it.

“There is no funding for this. Certainly, there is a need out there,” said Mayor Jack Geraghty. “The question is the location.”

During Monday’s meeting, Planning Services Director Phil Williams gave the city council a status report on planning for the center. He noted the city now is considering other sites in addition to the 30 acres on Foothills Drive between Perry and Hamilton streets.

Last spring, the Foothills proposal triggered an outcry from Logan neighborhood residents who argue their neighborhood already is beseiged by traffic and air-quality problems.

The proposed $32 million center would serve as a one-stop service shop for city vehicles, as well as house construction engineers and street crews.

Williams said the center would consolidate activities that now take place at broken-down buildings across the city. He flipped through slides demonstrating some of the problems: holes in ceilings, falling bricks, water dripping on electrical boxes.

“These buildings are not only a financial drain. We might as well have a tent,” Williams said. “They also are a huge morale drain.”

The city has six options for the new facility. They include:

Buying property to build a new center on the West Plains.

Tearing down the existing maintenance buildings at Normandie and Sinto to build new ones, as well as buying more land.

Upgrading the buildings at Normandie and Sinto.

Buying the Long Lake Lumber Site on East Sprague.

Building the center on the city-owned Foothills site.

Building on city-owned property at Florida Street and Queen Avenue.

Williams said the Long Lake and Foothills sites were the city’s top two choices because of their low operational costs and centralized locations.

Of the two, Foothills remained the favorite because the city already owns the majority of the land needed. As for the lumber yard, Williams said, “We don’t know what we’d have to pay for this property.”

Geraghty urged Williams to pursue the Long Lake option.

“I’d just really like to see another step taken with regards to that site,” Geraghty said. “I suppose every time you look at it, the price goes up.”

Also Monday, the council:

Agreed to let Spokane Cellular Telephone Co. build a transmission antenna and small power center on the northwest corner of Joe Albi Stadium. The city will earn $6,000 each year from the lease.

Approved the final payment to Acme Materials and Construction Co. of Spokane to pave Rebecca and Julia streets from Wellesley to Nebraska avenues, and Nebraska Avenue from Freya to Florida streets. The project’s total cost is $558,715.

, DataTimes