ST. ALBANS TOWN — The St. Albans Town Department of Public Works (DPW) Relocation Project Committee has been working to get the old town garage off the shore of St. Albans Bay and to put a new building on town property on Brigham Road.
The current DPW building location is problematic, as hazardous materials have over the years leaked into soil and water.
At Monday’s selectboard meeting, various committee members shared the relocation project’s rapid progress. Following a selectboard capital project priorities meeting in late September, the relocation project committee was formed in October. Since then it has met, conducted site visits to new DPW buildings in surrounding towns, and sketched out the town’s current and potential needs in preparation for a cost estimate.
“I think we’ve been moving right along on the project,” said selectboard and DPW Relocation Project committee member Bruce Cheeseman.
“I’m thrilled,” said selectboard chair Bernie Boudreau. “I think you guys have gotten a lot done in a short amount of time.”
Town manager Carrie Johnson, who also sits on the committee, said DPW director Steve Beauregard has visited a number of other DPW buildings and has told the committee what his needs and wants are.
Beauregard’s vision was partially realized in a sketch created by Neagley & Chase Construction Company of South Burlington, who volunteered to help – for free –with a cost estimate. The sketch shows an area of about five acres with a building, salt shed, landscaping, and an entry road.
The new DPW building is proposed for a 73-acre parcel at 210 Brigham Rd., just north of the railroad tracks. At the moment, spare town equipment and a drop-off site for town residents’ grass clippings sit on the property.
An Act 250 permit is not expected to be necessary because the site is less than 10 acres.
Now, according to the committee, an “up to” cost estimate needs to be made in order for the project to be put on the Town Meeting Day ballot in March. The draft ballot item is proposed to be paid for with the one percent Local Option Tax (LOT) funds, which totaled about $170,000 between July and September.
“We’ve still got a major job ahead of us in order to put a dollar amount on this,” said Cheeseman.
As part of the cost-estimating process, Peter Garceau of Cross Consulting has been hired to work on site this week with Neagley & Chase to do test fits and soil samples in order to see whether the new building can be built on the proposed site.
Johnson and Cheeseman said they should have a project cost estimate by late next week. A public work session meeting, which should include discussion of the relocation project cost, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m..
With a cost estimate and voter approval of that number, the new DPW building project can be put up for bidding. Cheeseman said the committee was thinking of requesting bids including both design and construction.
When Cheeseman asked on behalf of the DPW Relocation Project committee for permission to proceed with the process, he received a resounding “absolutely” from his fellow board members.
“I trust your judgment from what you’ve fleshed out,” said Boudreau.