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Lake City to get new public works building

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

With less than 700 square feet of storage space at its current public works building, much of Lake City's mechanical equipment is left outdoors to battle the elements. This week, city officials broke ground on a new public works building, which, when completed, will be nearly 10 times the size of its current facility.

On Tuesday, the Lake City City Council broke ground on a new, 6,250-square-foot public works building. The pre-engineered steel structure, scheduled to be completed in March, will serve as an addition to the current structure, located at 5535 North Parkway in Lake City.

Lake City SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) Project Manager Ron Gossett said the new building will be constructed at a cost of $552,866, using funds from the county's 2008 SPLOST. He said the new facility will have double the ceiling height of the old facility, and will include rooms for electrical and mechanical storage.

"The little one [the old building] sitting on the back part of the property is almost like a residential garage," Gossett said. "That was built sometime in the '80s. It wasn't big enough to pull a tractor in or park a dump truck or street sweeper ... It was only smaller equipment in there.

"What they had was that all of their equipment was stored outdoors," he continued. "It just looked like an industrial area with everything outside. Getting everything inside will make it look less like an eyesore."

Gossett said the new facility will include brick veneer on the three sides facing the street, 16-foot-high ceilings, 14-foot-high bay doors, and enough storage room to accommodate the city's massive Christmas lighting display.

Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt said the public works building is one of four SPLOST projects the city expects to complete, or begin construction on, within the next year, at a total cost of $6.3 million. Other city SPLOST projects include construction of the Lake City Nature Preserve, the restoration of Jester's Creek, and a new community center.

Oswalt said the new public works building will help the city become better stewards of its property.

"To get adequate equipment like we need to have, we just need more room," Oswalt said. "This equipment is too expensive to let it just sit outside. Ultimately, the citizens own all this equipment, so we want to give them their money's worth."

According to Gossett, all of the city's SPLOST projects are currently underway, with the exception of the community center. He said the city expects to begin construction of its new community center in early 2011.