The City of Kenai is expected to begin building a $4-million city shop in about a month.
The city contracted Blazy Construction for the project at its Wednesday meeting, subcontractors for the structural steel and concrete work. Construction will begin in three to four weeks, and the project’s completion date is June 1, 2014, Capital Projects Manager Sean Wedemeyer said.
The 17,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance facility will cost an estimated $3,938,900.
Shop workers will assemble, repair and maintain more than 400 pieces of city equipment, Wedemeyer said. That includes Kenai Municipal Airport equipment — snow blowers, graders, front-end loaders — and public works vehicles — lawnmowers, ambulances, police cars.
“When we get a new police car, it comes with many parts and pieces that we actually install,” Wedemeyer said.
There will be five overhead doors at each end of the shop for vehicles to drive in quickly for repairs and drive out restored. There will also be a large gravel pad at each end of the building for larger vehicles to maneuver in and access the shop.
The shop will stock spare parts for the vehicles and equipment. One working foreman and two mechanics will operate the facility. “They are very busy,” Wedemeyer said.
Future city plans include building a 20,000-square-foot “warm storage facility” on the same lot to contain city vehicles and equipment, he said.
The current city shop sits at the corner of Airport Way and Willow Street with the parks and recreation department and the warm storage buildings.
But the current shop, he said, is inadequate for two reasons: It is on leased airport property, and it is too small.
Each year the city pays $35,036 on its current shop lease, City Finance Director Terry Eubank said. But the city will pay no lease fee on its new shop, situated on the city’s general fund land.
The new shop will also be much larger than the current facility. Over the years, the city has accumulated more city equipment than it can conveniently service out of its current shop, Wedemeyer said.
“The one that we have is very old, and very small,” he said.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at email@example.com.