Citizens oppose new location for city street dept.

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Some neighbors remain concerned about city plans to put streetdepartment operations in the old National Guard armory and plan tovoice those concerns at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Ed Norton, who owns a business near the armory on Highway 51,said concerned citizens were expected to present a five-pagepetition at Tuesday’s meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30p.m.

“Everybody we’ve asked to sign it has signed it,” said Norton,although he did not have an exact number of petition signers.

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City officials are considering the move once the National Guardmoves into its new facility on Highway 84.

With street department operations in the old armory, neighborsand businessmen have expressed concerns about the potential fordeclining property values, increased traffic and a bad impressionon the city with the operations in such a visible location.

Alderman at large Henry Newman is among those opposed to themove plans.

“I’m dead set against that. We don’t need to do that,” Newmansaid.

Newman also mentioned safety concerns due to increased truck andtrailer traffic. He also said selling the property would put it onthe tax rolls to help the city financially.

“It’ll generate revenue rather than it costing us money,” Newmansaid.

Move supporters, including Mayor Bill Godbold, have said streetand sanitation department space is needed due to currentfacilities’ poor condition on Willard Street and with a newintermodal transportation facility targeted for that area.

Earlier, Godbold said only the street department is planned tobe moved to the armory, mainly because of radio tower benefits, andit is a “temporary measure.”

Contrary to some concerns, Godbold said the sanitationdepartment would not be going to the old armory.

“We’re not thinking about moving the sanitation department(there),” Godbold said. “We’re going to move it to the landfill tostart with.”

Godbold indicated the street department could also eventuallywind up at the landfill.

Norton suggested some other uses for the old armory rather thanfor street department operations. He mentioned a possiblerecreational park with walking trail plus use of the armorybuildings for flea markets, automobile shows or concerts.

“It’s located in a good place for that,” Norton said. “We don’tfeel like the proposed use for it would be good for thecommunity.”