Though it has been quite some time since the last Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting to discuss the proposed new fire hall and city hall in Missouri Valley, Prochaska & Associates returned on Aug. 21 to present a new concept to the committee.

Previous designs in several locations continued to fail for various reasons, including space limitations and properties that were not for sale, as well as cost.

“Of the previous properties, we were always finding something that kind of disabled the property,” Prochaska & Associates Project Manager Curt Field said. “It wasn’t like you were going to end up with a bunch of different properties to make comparable decisions with.”

The most recent previous option focused on a new build at the property currently owned and used by the Rand Community Center.

“They ultimately changed their mind and would not allow us to do anything on the property. We presented another idea of adding on to the community center because it consists of rooms we could use, and it would save taxpayers money,” Wohlers said. “That was shot down, and then it was shot down doing anything on the property.”

Missouri Valley Fire Chief and Assistant Chief Bob Erixson found a property, located at 110 S. Eighth St. in Missouri Valley, that might be the best of four options presented at this point.

Though the property is not currently listed for sale, Wohlers said he approached the property owner, who was receptive to the idea.

“He was very open to it. He’s not really in business a whole lot these days, and he admitted that it is a whole lot more site than they need,” Wohlers said.

The property, which has buildings that would have to be removed for the fire station, is outside of the flood plain and offers enough space for the conceptual fire hall and parking, though barely.

“There is only one way for the building to sit on the site,” Project Designer Steve Johnson said.

The design includes seven bays with overhead doors on one side only, leaving the sole way out of the proposed station to be onto Ontario Street, which was built for heavy traffic. According to Wohlers, reinforcing that street will not be necessary for the heavy equipment.

Though Johnson designed the concept with all the specifications listed, except for pull-through bays, he also presented two pared down concepts, all complete with demolition costs, which could vary widely, but without the cost of the property purchase, which is unknown.

“We started paring back in the idea of getting something that you could afford, that would get you into something for the trucks,” Field said. “The rest of it would be in the master plan.”

The first scheme has everything the department wants and totals 15,760 square feet. The cost projection for this option exceeds $3 million and is well outside of the city’s bond capacity.

In scheme two, Johnson reduced the amenities, including the mezzanine, but left room for a future addition to include that. This scheme also includes a finished parking lot onsite, but does not include green space.

The total square footage of the build in the second concept is 13,200 at a projected cost of just over $2.6 million.

That amount is still higher than Wohlers believes the city can carry, and Johnson came prepared with a third concept for the site. The final scheme is an 80x165-foot building that includes seven bays to fit a fleet of 14 vehicles. The station also has four walk-through doors, a paved entrance for the station, and the necessary retaining wall.

In this bare-bones concept, the parking area is not paved, and the only build inside the station is restrooms and a hose tower.

The total square footage of the station would be 13,200 with room for future expansion at an estimated cost of $1,447,092.

“You guys have been talking price limitations from day one,” Field said.

While Wohlers agreed that the city couldn’t afford the priciest of the three versions, he stated his concern with building the “shell” and counting on the city to follow through with future expansions and finish work.

“I know we can’t afford it, but it is one of those deals that if I don’t try to get some grants for what we need now, it will never happen,” he said.

Wohlers added that he has some interest in the property the department owns on the east edge of town, the sale of which might make a difference in getting a bond approved for this project.

In the end, the current conceptual project is to be determined by the potential purchase of the property and at what cost. Other determining factors might include the ability to find cost-effective demolition options and convincing the public.

“There’s a whole lot of cogs working together here,” Wohlers said.

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