Ribbon cutting ceremony for the city’s new vehicle storage building behind the Coon Rapids City Center took place prior to the Coon Rapids City Council meeting Oct. 16.
The project was completed two weeks early and came in under budget, according to City Manager Steve Gatlin.
The building, which has 56 parking spaces, as well as a car washing bay, was primarily built to house police department vehicles.
But Gatlin said it will also be used to park vehicles from the fire, engineering, building inspection and assessing departments that have been parked outside in the elements at the city center up to now.
Vehicles started to use the new storage facility at the end of the week, he said.
“This is been a long time coming,” said Mayor Tim Howe.
In the long run, the city will save time and money by being able to park its vehicles inside, according to Howe.
“This is an important step forward,” Howe said. “I thank all who have been involved in the project.”
The contractor, Jorgenson Construction, is a Coon Rapids company. Kodet Architects designed and engineered the facility.
Councilmember Paul Johnson was the impetus behind the project, bringing the proposal to his fellow council members.
Johnson spent more that 30 years with the police department retiring a few years ago as captain.
With computers and other electronic equipment now staples of police squad cars, the vehicles need to be housed indoors, especially in the winter months, because of the sensitivity of the equipment, according to Johnson.
In addition, there is equipment in other city vehicles that should not be exposed to the winter cold, Johnson said.
“This sort of a facility has become an absolute necessity where it would not have been in the past when computers and other electronics were not in the vehicles,” he said.
Parking the vehicles inside will be also more efficient because staff will able to go to their assignments immediately without having to scrape the ice off the windshield, Johnson said.
Not being parked outside in the elements will add life to the vehicles, he said.
“This project has been very satisfying,” Johnson said.
“It is great addition to the city’s infrastructure.”
The contract bid for the 20,000 square-foot building from Jorgenson Construction at $1,528,300 was well under the engineer’s estimate of $2,023,310.
The new building has been constructed in the area behind the police department on the city center campus.
Besides the parking area and car wash bay, storage space is provided for police and fire needs and there is also a mechanical room with an air compressor.
The council set a $2.230 million budget for the project, including construction cost, architect fee and testing.
The project is not being funded from the property tax levy.
According to Gatlin, most of the cost is being paid for from existing dollars in the facilities construction fund – $1.5 million.
The balance is coming from closed bond funds, money left over after the city has paid off bonds that it has issued that would normally be transferred to the facilities construction fund.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]