Public Services Relocation
In 2022 and 2023, a number of urgent issues were identified with the existing Department of Public Services yard and its buildings at 14 West Forest. Options to mitigate these issues, including relocation, were explored from late 2022 onward. In October of 2023, the yard was closed to the public.
14 West Forest Conditions
The City purchased the property at 14 W Forest in 1914 from the Michigan Gas Company. Both the Michigan Gas Company and the City have operated it as an industrial site. This site is considered a brownfield and is undergoing a Phase I evaluation.
The central building dates from the 1800s, originally constructed as an unoccupied coal barn, and later converted for use as a service garage. Wings were added to the building in the early 1960s and again in the late 1960s, one timber and steel and the other concrete block. All three portions of the building (central building and two wings) have interrelated roof structures. The building requires extensive work to be brought into compliance with modern building safety codes; full teardown and replacement is considered to be more economical given the significant challenges in doing so.
The administrative building was constructed in the 1880s as an unoccupied industrial building, and converted to an administrative space some time later. This building underwent extensive renovations in the 1990s, but cannot serve the current workforce and would require extensive work to be brought into compliance with modern building codes.
The salt barn was constructed in the 1990s and has outlived its design life; a full replacement is required. The pole barn at the north end of the property requires a paved floor and to be relocated due to its location atop the Owen Drain. Additional enclosed storage is needed to support services, as well as aggregate material storage.
The expected cost for building renovation exceeds $3.5M; remediation costs equal or exceed that amount. The building and site work would significantly disrupt operations for the duration, likely leading to a temporary reduction in services and contracting out services at a disadvantage and/or a full relocation of staff and operations. Estimated costs to rehab the existing property would exceed $9M.
The City has identified a property in the City's Mansfield industrial park as a potential site for relocation. This facility would be able to accommodate many of the DPS operations immediately, particularly service garage needs as well as other daily needs. The facility currently lacks a salt barn, vactor pad, and aggregate materials storage; this site does have room to accommodate those additional uses as well as an expansion of the administrative area for the necessary staff. The estimated cost of these improvements is expected to be approximately $2.75M in construction costs and minimize the transition period and the costs associated therewith. Other locations and alternatives were considered, including constructing a wholly new facility on the Water Street property. There is not yet a plan for the future of 14 W Forest.
A PDF of a presentation that goes over the existing conditions at DPS and the alternatives examined is available here.
The PDF of the presentation presented at Council on November 9th, 2023 is available here.
- Structural assessment salt barn (Wagner)
- Structural assessment vehicle maintenance (Wagner)
- Building inspection memorandum OHM 2022
- Building alternatives memorandum OHM 2023