August 4, 2008

City Wants $1M Spot to Lodge Park Equipment

By Jodi Rogstad, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

Aug. 4--CHEYENNE -- The city's parks division soon may have a $1 million home for its mowers, weed whackers, grass seed, fertilizer and trucks.

On Monday, the City Council's Finance Committee will look at buying a warehouse at 4500 Dell Range Boulevard.

The division uses a lot of equipment to maintain the city's 23 parks, seven athletic fields, 23 miles of Greenway and 18 miles of paths as well as a host of pocket parks and intersection triangles.

There are more than a dozen mowers, 10 trailers, a dump truck and a number of pickups.

There also are supplies to stock up, like PVC piping for the irrigation systems, playground equipment, grass seed, fertilizer, trash cans and weed whackers.

The equipment and trucks currently are stored and maintained at the division's main shop in Lions Park as well as at other sites, Parks and Recreation director Rick Parish said.

The division once shared space there with the Public Works Department, but that ended when that agency, which oversees road maintenance, moved to a new facility last year.

One of the buildings at the main shop was built in the 1930s.

"We have been inadequately sized for a long time," Parish said. "It's like a tripping hazard everywhere you go. We definitely need more space."

More importantly, a rainbow arch at the entrance of the Lions Park facility signals a transformation ahead, numbering the days that the division can keep its equipment there.

The Children's Garden is set to open there next June, said Shane Smith, director of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. Construction will start this fall.

The plan all along has been to get a larger space for the parks division. It was going to build a new shop at Dutcher Field.

The 1992 and 2000 parks master plans call for getting the division's main shop out of the city's centerpiece park. The real estate at Lions Park is too valuable to keep it there, Parish said.

Design delays postponed the project for a year when first one firm, then another, missed their deadlines, Parish said.

The contract with that second firm is hold, pending the approval and purchase of the warehouse.

To buy the building, $400,000 will come from a state allocation from 2007. The rest will come from general funds and reserves.

With construction looming for the Children's Garden, Parish said they started looking for a building to lease. That is when they spotted the warehouse.

It is owned by Guardian Development, and Cheyenne Natural Stone had operated out of there, said Robin Burns with Guardian and No. 1 Properties.

Parish said it turned out to be a good deal for the city. The appraised value is $1.11 million, and the asking price was nearly $1.3 million.

It appears that it will be cheaper to buy rather than build. The Dutcher Field building would've likely cost $900,000, Parish said. With water lines and parking lot improvements, that would have come to $1.2 million.

There are still many signs of the old business. The floor tiling just inside the front entrance is in the shape of a buffalo. Also remaining are kitchen models with shiny granite countertops. That would likely be sold off in one of the city's surplus auctions.

In the meantime, the city is doing its due diligence.

The fire department and the city's building inspectors have checked the building. Two roofing companies have come out, and the city is doing a title and lien search.

The building sits on nearly three acres of land, and the 14,150-square-foot concrete building was built in 1978.


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