Wayland voters will again be asked to approve funding for a new Department of Public Works (DPW) facility at a Special Town Meeting on November 20th, at 7:30 pm at the Wayland High School. All residents are encouraged to attend as DPW operations (road and bridge maintenance, street paving, snow removal, playing fields and parks maintenance) impact every resident in town. The existing 13,000 square foot DPW facility located on Main Street in front of the Wayland Middle School was built in the 1930’s and has numerous structural and operational deficiencies, and is grossly inadequate to support DPW operations. At the April 2013 annual town meeting, funding for a new DPW facility fell just short of the required two-third’s majority by only a handful of votes.
Following April’s town meeting and the questions raised by some town residents, the Board of Selectmen approved additional funding to complete remaining work on wetlands restoration, methane mitigation and archaeological studies relative to the River Road site. Based on the urgency of this project primarily due to the deplorable workplace conditions at the existing DPW facility on Main Street, a special town meeting on November 20th at the Wayland High School has been scheduled. To prepare for the November 20th town meeting, this article will provide residents important information on the status of the proposed facility including the findings of studies conducted in the past several months.
While the core objective to make the project as cost-effective and functional as possible to support DPW operations for many years to come has remained unchanged, since April’s town meeting additional work has addressed the cost of wetlands mitigation and other measures if the access road from Route 20 were to be used for the new facility, methane mitigation concerning the capped landfill that sits adjacent to the proposed DPW site (no methane has been detected at the project site), and an evaluation whether there are any historically sensitive areas at or near the proposed construction site that should be considered.
One of the studies identified historically and culturally sensitive areas that essentially preclude improvements to the access road going to the proposed site from Route 20 as a viable option at this time. For these reasons, River Road will be used as the primary point of access to the new facility, which will also result in a cost savings. Accordingly, the Route 20 access road mitigation measures to address wetlands restoration and flood storage capacity are not required to move forward with the funding and construction of a new DPW facility. By utilizing River Road as the primary point of access, we are ensuring that any archaeological artifacts or sensitive areas at the project site based on recent examinations will not be disturbed or disrupted by any construction-related activities.
These decisions have involved close collaboration with other town boards including the Conservation Commission, Finance Committee, Historical Commission, Board of Selectmen and other interested community groups and will permit the DPW facility project to move forward in the most cost-effective manner without any unnecessary delays once funding is approved.
The site planning, design and construction of a new DPW facility has been an ongoing and detailed process spanning many years. Although the article before the special town meeting on November 20th is jointly sponsored by the Board of Public Works and Board of Selectmen, the Permanent Municipal Building Committee, comprised of town resident volunteers with expertise in structural and civil engineering and municipal construction and project management, has played an integral role in the evaluation and feasibility of the siting and construction of this municipal use public works facility.
Numerous public meetings have been held in the preceding months and years involving various town boards and resident input to address and resolve any and all outstanding issues and concerns with the new DPW facility.
In 2011, Annual Town Meeting authorized $175,000 for the planning, site selection and schematic design for a new facility. At the April 2012 Annual Town Meeting, voters approved designating the town-owned parcel of land on River Road for the project appropriating $725,000 for construction documents and bidding. These were important votes and endorsements by town residents which have allowed this project to move forward. Based on the recently completed work and protective measures that will be part of the project, we are now asking town residents to approve funding for the construction of the DPW facility at the November 20th special town meeting.
The new DPW facility will be approximately 37,600 square feet, representing an 18 – 19% reduction in building size and functionality from the original construction plans to make this as cost-effective a project as possible while also meeting the town’s growing needs. The benefits of a new DPW facility are numerous:
· Protection for the DPW’s multi-million dollar vehicle fleet which will significantly extend the useful life of these vehicles
· Safer work environment and retention of dedicated employees
· More efficient response times in responding to storms, downed trees, broken water mains and floods
· Avoiding the expenditure of millions of dollars in needed capital improvements on the existing DPW facility, which would still be inadequate to support existing operations
· Community re-use of the existing four-acre DPW site on Main Street
The proposed facility will be sited on town-owned land between Route 20 and River Road which is currently used by the DPW for salt storage. Although interest rates are still at historic lows, we are starting to see construction costs begin to rise. Further delay could mean higher costs. Bottom line is that the current facility has outlived its useful life by many years (if not decades); our employees and town residents deserve better and this is long overdue.
There is a public presentation on the proposed DPW facility scheduled for 7:00 pm on Monday, November 4th at the existing DPW facility at 195 Main Street. This will be a great opportunity to not only learn about the new facility but also view first-hand the workplace conditions at the existing facility. If you haven’t had an opportunity to attend one of these forums in the past, now is the time to learn more about this time-sensitive project in advance of the November 20th town meeting. You can also view a detailed site plan and other project documents on the Wayland website (www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_BComm/PMBC/index). We hope to see you at this upcoming open house on November 4th and at town meeting on November 20th.
Board of Public Works Members Tom Abdella, Michael Lowery, Bob Goldsmith, Jon Mishara, Michael Wegerbauer, and DPW Director Don Ouellette.