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City to Build New Public Works Facility

Apr 08, 2016 10:38AM ● Published by Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals

West Jordan - Building a new public works facility has been a hot topic on the city council agenda for the past seven years, according to Mayor Kim Rolfe, but the spot for the facility was undecided until the city council meeting on Feb. 24. 

City staff proposed the new facility be built over the current 10-acre facility and the seven acres of city-owned land that’s adjacent to the north, at approximately 7960 South 4000 West. The vote passed four to three.

Councilmember Jeff Haaga toured the current facility and said it presented safety hazards to the city employees working there. The facility has inadequate ventilation, holes in the ceiling and inadequate amounts of indoor parking space, among other problems, said Kim Wells, spokeswoman for the city. 

The building was dedicated in October 1986, when the city had 35,744 people, and today the city has over 110,000 residents, Wells said. Jim Riley, facilities project manager, said the city’s expected growth over the next few decades will require a larger facility. 

The council members were all in favor of a new facility, but there was deliberation over where the facility should be constructed. The 17 acres of land that encompass the current facility and the area to the north would be the least expensive solution, according to Mark Palesh, city manager, but it would also cause the demolition of two soccer fields. 

“I’m in favor of the new facility, but it’s my experience that when you take away a park, you don’t often get one back,” Councilmember Zach Jacob said. 

With Councilmember Chris McConnehey absent, the vote failed during the Feb. 10 city council meeting three to three, with Councilmembers Sophie Rice, Chad Nichols and Jacob dissenting. Nichols said it might be possible to sell the city land to make a profit and purchase another site for the facility, and Rice said she wanted to look into other options. 

 “This may be the best spot, but just in case, I would prefer to table this item until next meeting,” she said. 

Rolfe brought the item back on the agenda for the Feb. 24 meeting. 

“This is a less-than-adequate facility, and to put this off is not the right thing to do,” he said. 

During the meeting, representatives from public works showed a map of potential land sites that they might be able to obtain for the facility in the same region of the city. Most of the sites were private land that the city might be able to purchase. Rolfe and Haaga said they still believed the plot that staff proposed was the best option. 

“Soccer needs to be taken care of, but we need to take care of this now,” Haaga said. “I am not going to be the council member that’s not paying attention to the safety of our employees.” 

Brian Clegg, director of parks and recreation, said his department has a short-term fix for the soccer field shortage by opening up fields that they were planning on closing for maintenance this season. He said that in the long term they would open up new fields in the Ron Wood complex, on 5900 W. New Bingham Highway.

“In the end, there would be no loss of any kind,” Clegg said. 

Chad Barnett, of West Jordan Youth Soccer, said the fix would work in the short term, but in the long term it might not work because the teams would need more than just replacement fields; they would need additional fields because the league is growing.

Jacobs proposed an amendment to the motion of approving the facility site. He proposed that city staff look into options for obtaining the sports fields. The motion with the amendment passed with Councilmembers McConnehey, Rice and Dirk Burton dissenting. 

McConnehey said the site would have been a “prime place” for economic development.  

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