The City of Manchester has begun a push for a brand new city (Street Department) shop. The initial cost to the citizens/taxpayers has been floated out and it’s anywhere from $2.8 million to $3.2 million. If one does the math, based upon the article in the Nov. 28 Manchester Press, the total cost (including interest) over 20 years could be $5 million. Since these projects seldom get completed without change orders and additional expenses, we’re probably looking at closer to $6 million.
Mayor Milt Kramer said the current facility is in dire straits and a disaster waiting to happen. He’s particularly concerned about the hoist in the current shop. The hoist is only about 10 years old.
City Manager Tim Vick was on KMCH radio saying that there are variations in floor elevations at the current shop and some steep steps between the maintenance bay and the weld shop. I worked for the City for nearly 30 years. I’m not aware of any steep steps in that area. The last I knew, there was a concrete ramp between the two rooms. Any floor variations, etc. were of the City’s own creation, as they added on buildings and rooms over the years.
Vick also stated that a new shop would allow everything to be at one location. Almost everything is at one site right now. If the City is planning to keep the existing shop for storage, then things truly will be at two locations. Vick also said that a new shop will bring attention to the east end of town. That sounds like a stretch.
With a declining population of just over 5,000 people, no matter how you slice it, the cost to each and every citizen would be $1,000 or more. This building is a “want,” not a “need.” The City has a lot more explaining to do. They should also explain to us why the majority of Street Department employees live outside the city limits, and thus have little or no stake in this major expense. Our money would be better spent on flood mitigation and street repairs.