Doing local government right
Making sure teenagers count: Yuma, Arizona Working with the city government of Yuma, Ariz., a team of high school students is taking charge of issues of interest to local youth in an attempt to improve the quality of life for the area’s teenagers. Under the direction of Mayor Marilyn Young, the city created the “Mayor’s Youth Design Team” in 1994.
Students from the four local high schools comprise the design team, and adult advisors are appointed annually to guide and advise them. On a volunteer basis, members of the team meet twice a month after school between October and April.
On their own initiative, members of the team conducted a two-year survey of more than 7,000 high school students to determine how local youths perceive their lives within the community. The team engaged in a great deal of brainstorming to determine the survey questions and categories. A decision to survey all high school students, not just a representative sampling, was made.
Negotiations followed, and school administrators approved the survey plan. The surveys were conducted at the schools during class time in 1997. Parental approval for participation also was deemed necessary, and forms were mailed to the students’ families for that purpose. Completed surveys were then secured by the design team members and stored prior to data entry.
During the spring of 1998, the design team approached the city’s Information Technology Department and sought its assistance in programming the survey data. Even though the team could not compensate the city for its services, the department stepped forward and created a product the teens could readily input. After several weeks of data entry, the team analyzed more than 1,100 valid survey documents.
On July 14, 1998, the teenagers delivered their report to the Yuma City Council. It covered topics such as entertainment, transportation, mental and physical health, family and friend relationships, dating, sexual activity and substance abuse. “This survey is one of the most marvelous products I’ve seen in some time,” says City Councilman Art Everett. “It’s worthy of anything we’ve paid a consultant for.”
Mayor Young noted, with some surprise, that the survey showed most students are comfortable talking with their parents. Among the unexpected results from the survey: Public transportation was a top priority, even higher than a long-sought-after water park. (Yuma has no public transit.) Other findings: * More than 10 percent of males had tried drugs at or before age 13; * Nine out of 10 local high school girls know a girl who became pregnant in high school; and * Most Yuma teens go to movies and restaurants for entertainment, although a number drive to clubs in Mexico, primarily to dance.
The project ensured that the city’s young people would be represented by the leaders of the community. It also provided the city council with validated findings that could be used for funding quality-of-life improvements. The project cost just $500 (for postage). During the two-year effort, members and advisors worked an estimated 2,000 hours.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Yuma Police Department (two adult advisors); Parks and Recreation Department (one adult advisor); Management Information Services Division; Excel Group; Behavior Health Special Services (one adult advisor); the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service (one adult advisor); Youth Forum Southwest (one adult advisor); Northern Arizona University (one professor of statistics); Yuma, Kofa, Cibola, and Vista high schools (survey venues).
Wastewater plant benefits town and environment: Lordsburg, New Mexico When Lordsburg, N.M., faced replacing a deteriorating wastewater treatment plant, the city of 3,000 moved fast, recognizing the very real threat of groundwater degradation. The old plant was constructed in 1974 and had used an oxidation ditch treatment system. Various equipment components, including flow meters, flow control valves, control wires on the aeration basin and outdoor lighting, were inoperable. Sludge drying beds and the bottom of the irrigation holding pond were unlined; sludge valves were in poor condition; and one return-activated sludge pump was out of service while the rest were in marginal condition. Furthermore, structural concrete was deteriorated throughout the plant, including in the oxidation ditch, which had been undermined in several places. The clarifiers were rusted and needed cleaning, painting and new parts.
The most critical problem was the plant’s potential for groundwater degradation. The city decided to replace the old facility with a new system using natural biological, chemical and physical processes to stabilize the wastewater. A $2.37 million grant from the Rural Utilities Service (a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) paid for the design and construction of the new facility as well as for land acquisition, legal fees and contingencies. The city of Lordsburg contributed $30,000 to the project.
The new, 120-acre wastewater facility, completed in May, consists of a riparian channel, lagoons and constructed wetlands that use the ample land resources at the existing plant site as well as adjacent tracts of land. The treatment lagoons and related equipment are designed to treat up to 600,000 gallons per day (gpd).
The Lordsburg facility’s treatment process uses primary and secondary treatment lagoons incorporating methane fermentation pits, and a maturation lagoon. The lagoons discharge to the wetlands system.
Two floating aspirating aerators are installed in each of the primary lagoons and in the secondary lagoon to provide oxygen to supplement that produced by the algae and to mix the upper liquids. After treatment in the secondary lagoon, the water is moved to the 600,000-gpd maturation lagoon. Recirculation pumps provide additional oxygen and mature microorganisms to the primary, secondary and maturation lagoons.
Bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms living in the wetlands help process organic matter and nutrients. Disposal of the wastewater occurs through evaporation and percolation. To avoid overloading the system, surface runoff is diverted around the treatment facilities by diversion berms and ditches.
The Lordsburg facility does not use chlorine because of high cost and high risks to maintenance personnel and wildlife. Natural disinfection is aided by long detention times in the treatment lagoons and ultraviolet light penetration of the wastewater. The system is fenced to restrict public access.
In addition to the cost savings and health benefits gained from non-use of chlorine, the new Lordsburg plant will save money through reduced energy consumption. While the old facility had four pumps running 24 hours per day, the new one has one pump operating nonstop.
In constructing the facility, the city made sure to enhance the riparian channel, both for the health of the environment and for aesthetics. Cattails and a variety of trees, including Mexican elderberry, mountain mahogany, Arizona cypress, eucalyptus and New Mexico oliver, were planted near the irrigation ponds. Grass carp and mosquito fish were stocked in two of the ponds.
Additionally, to accommodate the bird watchers who travel to Lordsburg from all over the country, a wildlife viewing platform was constructed outside the fence near the irrigation ponds. One of the ponds, which will be full during the winter months, is expected to be a haven for migrating water fowl.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: New Mexico State Engineer; New Mexico Environment Department; Engineers, Inc.; Environmental Engineering Consultants; Precision Engineering; Jarrell-Robin Construction; Quarrell Surveying; Delta Engineering; Big D Lining Systems; Current Electric
Abandoned quarry becomes landfill: Bristol, Virginia Necessity is the mother of invention and, as officials in Bristol, Va., will attest, sometimes the solution lies right under our noses. What to do with a dangerous abandoned rock quarry just outside the city? Bristol decided to convert it into a new landfill, thus replacing an old one nearing capacity.
In 1989, Bristol was rapidly running out of space in its existing landfill. After having worked for several years with a neighboring county to site a regional landfill, the city had identified more than 50 potential locations and investigated at least 20 of them, but all had problems. Even if a suitable location were found, time developing a site was limited.
The city had to act quickly or be confronted with a financial and logistical emergency. After numerous strategic planning sessions, the city chose to revisit an idea that had been proposed several years earlier but abandoned for fear of high costs or low practicality. The idea: using an abandoned quarry as a landfill site.
The abandoned Vulcan Materials limestone quarry, which closed in 1988, lay immediately adjacent to the city’s existing landfill. Vulcan and Houston-based Browning Ferris Industries each had considered taking on the conversion project but walked away when it looked like they would not be able to secure a permit.
EPA’s Subtitle D regulations proved to be the impetus to Bristol’s decision to pursue the quarry landfill plan. The regulations would render small jurisdiction ownership and management of individual landfills prohibitively expensive, the city believed, thus necessitating larger, regional facilities. Moreover, since the regulations pertained more to performance than specifications, they would allow for greater engineering flexibility than had the previous standards.
Bristol contracted with STS Consultants, Vernon Hills, Ill., to study the feasibility of converting the quarry into a landfill, perform an engineering study and analyze costs. Construction began in September 1996 and was completed in February 1998. The facility opened a month later.
About $5.25 million in revenues from solid waste tipping and processing fees and $1 million from general fund revenues were combined with proceeds from two 20-year bond issues to pay for the $15 million landfill and work on the old landfill. (The initial bond issue, $9.9 million, occurred in 1991; the second issue, $4 million, was in 1994.)
The new landfill includes a composite base liner consisting of 3 feet of compacted-on-site clay below a polyethylene geomembrane. A witness zone (used for monitoring) and secondary clay liner underlie the composite liner. The groundwater monitoring system examines groundwater quality at six locations beneath the landfill base, and a groundwater gradient control system maintains an inward groundwater flow to protect against any groundwater contamination.
The side wall liner system consists of wire mesh and wire rope draped on the quarry wall and bolted to the rock, forming a geogrid from which the geosynthetic liner is supported. An on-site sewer services the leachate collection system, and a 500,000-gallon underground tank is capable of delaying the discharge of leachate and stormwater until infiltration from stormwater flow into existing sewer lines subsides. Municipal solid waste is processed, sorted and baled before disposal at the quarry landfill. The landfill has become the centerpiece of the Bristol Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility, which also includes a composting operation, a recycling center and a methane gas production plant.
Despite its small “footprint” (6 acres), the quarry provides 8 million cubic yards of air space. At 400 tons per day, the facility is expected to serve the region for more than 40 years.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; STS Consultants Ltd.; Thompson & Litton, Mattern & Craig; Robert Clear Coal; Phillips & Jordan; American Mine Services; High Tech Rockfall, Inc.; Tri-Cities Industrial Builders; W. Rogers Construction; Harris Waste Management Systems; Guardrail of Roanoke; Crowder Construction; Crochet Equipment; Global Intermark; Jack Barker Construction; Hunton & Williams; Goodpasture Motor; Carter Machinery; Power Equipment.
Marshwalk launches 10-year access plan: Georgetown County, South Carolina For years, residents and government officials in Georgetown County, S.C., made efforts to develop the marsh area known as Murrells Inlet. The county wanted to preserve the area’s environmental elements but also create a usable space for the community’s 50,000 residents and growing number of visitors.
Although earlier efforts to restore the inlet had failed, in November 1997, County Councilman Tom Swatzel contacted the members of the original planning committee and set out to reorganize the Murrells Inlet project. The committee, named Murrells Inlet 2007, incorporated and appointed a full governing board of directors and hired an administrative staff person.
The name “Murrells Inlet 2007” was chosen because of the committee’s 10-year plan, initiated in 1997. The group’s mission states: “Murrells Inlet 2007 pledges a watchful stewardship of the saltmarsh waterways and access, a guiding hand to village development, an attentive ear to the community’s needs and an active voice for what’s gone before.”
Specifically, the committee wanted a plan that would improve public access to the waterfront; create public parks, pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and public corridors from the parking areas to the waterfront; establish community-wide signs; preserve the creek and fishing village image; maintain the creek; build a boardwalk; and provide landscaping.
Phase I included the construction of a marshwalk and improved public access to the waterfront. The board worked extensively with the community in planning the construction, as well as the overall design of the marshwalk. Many local engineers volunteered their services in planning and construction. The county building and zoning department assisted with code enforcement, tree ordinances and sign ordinances; the fire department assisted with elements of fire suppression; and the local planning council helped plan parking in the marshwalk area. The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism also has assisted the board.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management division awarded the board a $25,000 grant to build the marshwalk. Additional funds came from permit revenues from Sunday sales of alcohol in the inlet area, from the sale of walkway planks to the general public and from private business donations. No county property tax funds were used for the project.
In March 1998, Murrells Inlet began working with the county purchasing staff and the county attorney to advertise bids for construction of the 750-foot-long, 10-foot-wide marshwalk. The accepted bid from Jones Fencing & Vinyl, Cheraw, S.C., was $171,000, and Phase I of the marshwalk was completed in July. The project includes a concrete, oyster shell-embedded walkway and an elevated, wooden walkway over water. The marshwalk also includes plaques identifying the area’s natural inhabitants, such as shore birds, shellfish, grasses and plant life. The plaques provide an additional means of ecological education and encourage preservation in the area.
Phase II construction, which is scheduled to begin in early 1999, will include a 750-foot continuation of the marshwalk. The extension will require additional walkways over the water. It is expected to be completed by next summer.
The Murrells Inlet revitalization project has provided a permanent means of access to the inlet for public enjoyment but also preserves the natural environment. The grants and donations disallowed any monetary burden on local taxpayers.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Georgetown County, Jones Fencing & Vinyl.
Town hall gets a new ‘lease’ on life: Greece, New York The Town Hall in Greece, N.Y., was decrepit. Parts of it had been condemned, and the parts that had not were virtually uninhabitable. The newest portion of the building had been built in 1956. Residents knew they needed another Town Hall, but they also were aware that whatever they built had to accommodate multiple uses and future growth.
In 1979, the town purchased a site for the new facility, which would be at the geographic center of the 41-square-mile community. The site chosen was large enough not just for the Town Hall but for future municipal uses such as a library, community center, courthouse and police headquarters. As part of the design of the building, Greece included a war memorial named for a resident who won the Congressional Medal of Honor. (Any Greece resident who has lived in the town for 10 or more years and has served in a designated war or conflict may apply to have his or her name included on the memorial.)
Construction for the facility initially came in with an estimated price tag of $9.6 million. That, however, was well over what local taxpayers could be expected to bear. Additionally, since the town’s stated goal was to build the facility at little or no cost to the taxpayers, Greece set out to lower the cost of the facility and to find alternative means of financing it.
First, the project team instituted value engineering principles to scale down the cost. Using spatial analysis and functional area studies, traffic pattern analysis and customer service models, designers were able to reduce the square footage of the building from 66,300 to 38,500. The final design and construction of the building came in at a total project cost of $6.75 million. Next, town officials arranged the bid so that the project would be the first to begin in the new construction season. (Contractors usually offer lower bids on projects early in the season.) That helped the town save another $500,000.
Then the town struck up a relationship with Rochester, N.Y.-based Eastman Kodak, which wanted to divest itself of a number of real estate holdings, including 28 acres of prime commercial real estate. The company had been unsuccessful in attracting any tenants or purchase offers on the property, so, in exchange for tax advantages, it donated the land to Greece. The town decided to develop the property and market it for commercial purposes, using the revenue reaped to help finance the Town Hall. Residents of the neighborhood adjacent to the property expressed concerns about how it would ultimately be developed. So the town left the part of the area closest to the neighborhood as park land.
A portion of the property was offered as a water easement to Monroe County and another set aside to be developed eventually by the state as a bike path. Wetlands on the site were protected, and the town gained much-needed drainage acreage in that area. Greece then established a local development corporation, called Munipro (Municipal Projects, Inc.), and deeded the remainder of the property to it. Munipro was set up to market the property and enter into lease agreements. The parcel was divided into three land lease “pads.”
The revenues from the leases of each of the three pads is being used to offset the debt service on the new Town Hall facility. (The town floated $5.7 million worth of bonds to finance the construction.) Over a repayment period of 20 years, the town estimates that taxpayers will pay just 15 percent of the total cost of the building, a figure that could drop to zero depending on lease agreements on other properties Munipro may acquire. If the debt service repayment reaches a point at which the revenues from the leased properties surpass the debt service on the building, the additional revenue will be used to offset future property tax increases or to fund other public facility improvements. (Muni-pro now has lease agreements for two hotels on the property, both of which are open for business and providing jobs for the community. A lease agreement for the third pad is currently in negotiation.)
In addition, a portion of the property at the former Town Hall site was deeded to Munipro, and any resulting revenues also are dedicated to the repayment of the new building. On that site, Munipro has a lease agreement with a bank. Officials estimate that in fiscal year 1999 Munipro revenues will pay for approximately two-thirds of the debt service on the new building.
The revenues Munipro currently collects can be used as collateral against loans for future property purchases and municipal projects in order to minimize the effects on taxpayers. As a revenue generator, Munipro is a prime example of government operating as a business and offsetting its expenditures via revenues other than tax dollars.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Town of Greece; Christa Construction; Barkstrom & LaCroix Architects; The Sear Brown Group; Rochester Acoustical; Eugene G. Sackett, Inc.; Buffalo Structural Steel; Jefco Mechanical; William J. Thomann, Inc.; Van Putte Landscape; Manning, Squires and Henning; Dover Elevator; Pooler Enterprises; Cashette Electric; E. J. DelMonte; Manufacturers and Traders Trust; Eastman Kodak; Monroe County, N.Y.; New York Department of Transportation; Monroe County Water Authority .
C&D recycling center saves landfill space: Orange County, Florida Communities across the United States are faced with the reality of landfills reaching their capacity. Meanwhile, the cost of constructing new landfills is overwhelming, both in financial and political terms. Like many communities, Orange County, Fla., is seeking regional cooperation for trash hauling and is encouraging recycling to extend the life of its landfill.
The county also has created a system to recycle the construction and demolition (C&D) materials that take up approximately 20 percent of the space in landfills. That effort, which began in Orange County’s private sector, enabled the Orange County Corrections Division to institute a new concept called the Orange County Community Distribution Center, a clearinghouse where C&D material is recycled to nonprofit organizations. Prior to the implementation of the Community Distribution Center, the Central Florida Builder’s Exchange received many calls from non-profit agencies looking for building material donations because builders frequently have more than enough materials to ensure that jobs are finished properly and on time. The Builder’s Exchange would contact member builders to find possible donors and, once located, would coordinate the donation of the materials, all of which required a considerable expenditure of time and resources.
The exchange envisioned a centralized location where nonprofit agencies could obtain free materials and member builders could store leftover materials rather than send them to the landfill. The concept, however, demanded both the existence of a warehouse and a staff to operate it.
The Orange County Corrections Division Work Release Center, meanwhile, was looking for construction industry jobs for offenders. Together, officials at the center and the exchange determined that Orange County offenders could be warehouse trainees. Once they completed a hands-on program that involved shipping building materials to nonprofit agencies, inmates were eligible for placement.
The organizations located a vacant lumberyard, which had been on the market for several years and made a deal with the property owner to rent the building “as is” for $10 a month. In April 1993, the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved $11,000 to bring the building up to code and begin operations. Because of donations of materials and skilled labor, approximately half of the $11,000 was returned to the county’s taxpayers. Additionally, the center has tapped into the private sector (large corporate donors such as Sears and Walt Disney World), and the public sector (the Orange County School Board and the county commission) for regular donations. The program’s purpose is four-fold: * reducing solid waste disposal in the landfill; * extending the operating budgets of non-profit agencies by providing them with free construction materials and providing networking for solutions to other problems; * providing a facility to accept donations of usable construction and other materials; and * training offenders for warehousing jobs through meaningful education and work experiences and assistance in job placement at the end of training.
Since its 1994 opening, the center has donated more than 2,395 tons of materials, worth more than $6.6 million, to eligible non-profit agencies. Materials recycled to non-profit agencies include paint, floor coverings, plumbing materials, lumber, electrical materials, doors, windows and other construction items. More than 485 local, regional and national non-profit agencies have registered to receive materials from the distribution center. Additionally, since the opening of the center, 497 offenders have graduated from the job training program. Each has had a job upon graduation. Students going through the program receive certificates in Forklift Safety, Merchandise Receiving and Stock-keeping, Principles of Entrepreneurship, Hazmat Awareness, Employability Skills, and Orientation to Warehouse Operations.
The program is funded via general revenues, which are generated from property tax assessments. However, money for inmate training and equipment comes from the Inmate Welfare Fund, which is generated from the inmate canteen.
As knowledge of the center has spread, it has become a clearinghouse for interesting donations. For example, a boat donated by a private citizen is now being used by a nationally known non-profit agency that operates a camp for terminally ill children. Additionally, the center provided paint for a project called Paint the Town, which involved youth painting houses in outlying areas. It also provided lumber and nails needed to repair the homes.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Orange County Corrections Division; County Environmental Protection Department; Mid-Florida Technical Institute; County School Board; County Building Department; County Board of Commissioners; County Department of Community Affairs; County Attorney’s Office; County Chairman’s Office; County Administrator’s Office; County Facilities Management Department; County Fleet Management Department; County Property Accounting Department; County Risk Management Department; Walt Disney World; Sears; Central Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association; Private Sector Advisory Council.
Long-term pipeline project completed: San Diego, California This past March, San Diego completed work on the second phase of the North Mission Valley interceptor sewer, thus ending a 10-year project to upgrade the capacity of one of the city’s largest pipelines. The third and final section of the project, which cost $18 million to complete, included the installation of 2.5 miles of 78-inch pipe and approximately 1 mile of 24-inch pipe.
When phase II planning got under way, city officials had to contend with other major construction projects by the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB), Fashion Valley Mall, Chevron Development and Metropolitan Wastewater. The city’s project would have to precede the above-grade work of the other projects. The most cost-effective way to construct the project would be to break it into two parts: constructing the pipeline within MTDB’s trolley construction corridor and constructing the pipeline outside that corridor.
The city and MTDB agreed to combine their projects, allowing their respective design consultants to integrate plans into one construction package. MTDB agreed to perform the construction on behalf of the city, eliminating the potential conflicts of having two contractors working within the same corridor. The agreement also ensured a competitive price for the city.
Extensive biological studies were performed during the project design phase because of the proximity of the San Diego River. The project required extensive mitigation as well as coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Game, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Additionally, design and construction of the pipeline itself presented some challenges. For example, a large concrete box (60 feet x 14 feet x 10 feet) was constructed beneath the existing 66-inch sewer pipe and connected to the new 78-inch pipe on each end. The box allowed the live sewer to be cut out, and it directed the flow into the new pipeline.
Another structure was designed to connect the new pipe to the existing pipes that were stubbed out as part of a manhole. The connecting structure contains a 45-degree bend and flowsfrom two 66-inch pipes at the inlet to one 78-inch pipe at the outlet. During the design phase, city staff attended several community meetings to inform the public of the project and solicit feedback. During construction, a newsletter was published and distributed to the community and businesses affected by the work.
City officials took numerous steps to respond to the community’s concerns and to minimize disruption. For example, flow diversions were performed at night and on weekends to minimize odors and to keep residents’ sewers operational. Residential and commercial access remained open at all times, and additional parking and well installation were provided for the local YMCA, since part of its parking was used for construction access.
As construction within the trolley corridor progressed, officials were concerned about the potential for corrosion caused by stray currents from the trolley line. All pipes were bonded to make the pipeline metallically continuous, and test stations were installed for future monitoring.
Because the project was combined with construction of the trolley line, the timeline for completion was accelerated. The city therefore elected to pre-purchase the 78-inch pipe, enabling pipe delivery to coincide with the first day of construction. In addition to time, pre-purchasing saved an estimated $500,000 on the project. Additionally, buying Hobas flexible fiberglass rather than reinforced concrete pipe saved more than $2 million.
Construction of the project (performed by O’Brien Kreitzberg, San Francisco) was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Work inside the trolley corridor originally was budgeted at $9.9 million, but the cooperative agreement with MTDB allowed San Diego to reduce the budget by $1.5 million. Work outside the corridor was completed for $4.9 million. Additional contracts for utility relocation and the Ameron pipeline were completed for $215,000 less than planned.
Today, the expanded pipeline collects and transports sewage from a service area of roughly 250 square miles. It serves an estimated 500,000 people residing in Eastern San Diego, Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lakeside and Alpine.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: San Diego; Metropolitan Transit Development Board; Environmental Protection Agency; State Department of Fish and Game; Army Corps of Engineers; California Regional Water Quality Control Board; CalTrans; Native American Community; OSHA mining and tunneling unit; Pacific Bell; San Diego Gas & Electric; MCI; Boyle Engineering; O’Brien Kreitzberg; Hirsch & Co.; Dudek and Associates; Impact Sciences; Habitat West; Mission Valley Unified Planning Organization; Presidio Condos; YMCA; Fashion Valley Mall; cities of El Cajon and La Mesa; communities of Lakeside and Alpine.
Water plant can handle future growth: Lakeville, Minnesota When Lakeville, Minn., opened its new water plant last spring, it closed the door on local complaints about water quality and expanded its ability to meet growing maintenance and public safety needs. The multi-purpose facility not only handles water treatment but also provides space for the city’s utility maintenance department and emergency services. Located on the southern edge of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Lakeville is one of Minnesota’s fastest-growing communities. Since 1990, the population has grown by more than half, transforming the once rural/agricultural area into a suburban community of 38,383 residents.
The population boom has placed greater demands on the city’s utilities and has magnified ongoing concerns about water. It also has prompted the need to redistribute public safety services such as ambulances, police and fire personnel. In 1991, city officials identified three major areas of needed reform: * Although the drinking water quality complied with health regulations, high levels of iron and manganese prompted increasing complaints from residents about the water’s taste as well as stained bathroom fixtures and laundry. Additionally, local food manufacturers were forced to incorporate water filtration into their production processes. * The city would need more facilities to accommodate its growing utility demands, and meeting that need would put a space strain on the 38-square-mile community. * While the northern portion of the city was growing rapidly, the city’s public health and safety services were housed in the southern region. As its first order of business, Lakeville performed an evaluation on its existing water supply.
The city’s drinking water comes from wells drilled into the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer, and, historically, treatment has consisted only of chlorination, fluoridation and the addition of a sequestering agent directly to the wells.
An evaluation of that process by Black & Veatch, Kansas City, Mo., and Progressive Consulting Engineers, Minneapolis, led to a pilot project to determine the most effective treatment method for reducing the iron and manganese. The study involved building a model plant, where the proposed treatment method was tested on water from several existing wells.
With the results in hand, city officials decided to build a new 10-mgd facility on a 50-acre site. The new plant would remove iron and manganese from raw water, and, to ensure adequate supply and treatment for the future, it would be built for expansion up to 30 mgd. As the plant design proceeded, Lakeville officials thoroughly analyzed the city’s water delivery. Anticipating that the local population would grow to 74,000 by 2020, officials called for analysis of piping and other treatment elements and, where appropriate, sized them to meet the 30-mgd demand.
A 2.1-million-gallon underground reservoir was added to the site (five elevated storage tanks already existed), and space was earmarked for future reservoirs to store an additional 4 million gallons of water. In addition to planning for water supply and treatment, Lakeville also wanted to incorporate public health and safety services into the plant’s design.
A 22-bay utility maintenance shop – complete with a refueling station, equipment storage space and personnel facilities – was added. The site also would include a community meeting room, voting machine storage and a two-bay ambulance base with a lounge, two sleeping quarters and a restroom. Finally, the design incorporated space for a future fire station.
Completed this past May, the water treatment/utility maintenance facility cost more than $18 million ($416,343 for land and $17.6 million for construction). It was financed almost entirely by water connection charges paid for by residential and commercial development. Computers link the plant with wells and storage tanks, ensuring that plant production meets the community’s needs.
Automation enables the plant to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with utility employees working normal weekday hours. The plant also includes a diesel-powered generator for use during power outages or periods of peak demand. The electric utility will charge off-peak rates for the generator’s use, significantly reducing annual electrical charges.
According to Lakeville, the facility has improved the community’s quality of life significantly. There are no more complaints about iron and manganese, and service levels for utilities, maintenance and public safety have been enhanced. Most importantly, the plant is well-positioned to meet Lakeville’s needs long into the future.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Lakeville City Council and city staff; Minnesota Department of Health; Black & Veatch; Bor-Son (general contractor); Tushie-Montgomery & Associates (consultant); Progressive Consulting Engineers (consultant); Dorsey & Whitney (bond counsel); Springsted (fiscal agent).
Joint venture makes arts center affordable: Wichita, Kansas An old steel foundry and a group of prison inmates would seem to have little in common with art. But try telling that to officials in Wichita, Kan., who have successfully employed inmates to reconstruct a 19,000-square-foot building that will house the Wichita Cultural Arts Program and the Wichita/Sedgwick County Arts and Humanities Council.
The City Arts Building was made possible in part by a city council vote approving a joint venture with the Kansas Department of Corrections to use minimum security inmate labor. As a result of that vote, the Cooperative Labor Program, initiated in September 1996, put inmates to work with various city crews, under the supervision of specially trained city employees.
When it decided to take on the City Arts project, Wichita first obtained the services of two local firms: Gossen/Livingston as the architect and Key Construction as the general contractor. The inmates began gutting the building, which had most recently been used as a bar, in July 1997 and finished last August. “It was an old, dilapidated brick building,” says Dan Grohn, fleet and buildings director for the city. The workers tore off the roof, took down some sheetrock walls and removed items such as a stage, the bar and leftover furniture.
The subcontractors then began reconstructing the building using the inmates as laborers. The inmates’ 5,000 man hours of labor involved jobs such as roofing, installing new heating and air-conditioning systems, new windows, new lighting and underground plumbing hardware. The inmates, who were bused to Wichita from the Winfield Correctional Facility, were paid $1 per hour for their labor.
A total of 46 inmates took part in the project, with groups of 10 or 11 working at one time. “We tried to pick those who had experience in doing construction work,” Grohn says. The contractor and subcontractors trained the inmates on the job when necessary. As for the quality of the inmates’ work, Grohn says it was excellent, and several of the contractors have asked for their help on other projects. “They are asking for them all of the time,” he says. “We have more projects than we have inmates to do them with.”
The City Arts Building is intended to anchor the East Bank development, part of an evolving cultural and entertainment district. The district includes the Wichita Boathouse, Lawrence-Dumont Sports Stadium, Century II Convention Hall, Wichita Ice Center, the downtown public library and the Exploration Science Center.
Situated close to the new Hyatt Regency Hotel and newly renovated Grand Regency Hotel, City Arts will be in the mainstream of tourist activity. The two-story building, which complies with ADA guidelines, will offer space for a sales and rental gallery featuring the works of area artists. It also will include instructional rooms for art classes and workshops, offices for various community art groups, and child care facilities to serve an estimated 660 enrollments per month.
An Arts Education Program; an Artist-in-Residence Program; summer and afternoon activities for at-risk children; and a hands-on, outdoor art program will be offered by the new center. Arts programming will be designed for special populations, youths and adults. Plans also call for development of a program that combines art education and job training for high school students.
Grohn says Wichita’s leaders believe that investing in the arts is not only a vital means of social enrichment but also an economically sound investment. The city allocated money from its 1997 and 1998 budgets to pay for about $436,500 of the $632,500 cost. As of early November, the city had raised 98 percent of the remaining $196,000 necessary for completion of the project (it is expected to be done this month) from private donations and fundraisers. The inmates’ work was valued at $75,000.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Wichita, Gossen/Livingston Architects; Key Construction; Wichita Air Conditioning; Mark/Todd Plumbing; EZ Electric; Larry Waltee Roofing; Dan Satterfield Dry Wall; Rodney Beard Painting; Stone Masons Inc.; Otis Elevator.
Trading cards track repeat offenders: Lubbock, Texas When Lubbock, Texas, police officers realized that their city had 152 more burglaries in 1997 than it did in 1996, they knew they had to take serious corrective action. Additionally, they realized that just a few criminals were primarily responsible for a large number of crimes.
Therefore, police turned their attention to repeat offenders as they attempted to reduce crime in Lubbock. To curtail repeat offenders, the city’s police officers developed the Career Criminal Cards program, which uses “trading cards” featuring photos and information about habitual offenders.
The program began in January with the identification of 34 habitual offenders, and others were added later. Once police identify criminals who are wanted for multiple crimes, the department then prepares cards with the offenders’ photos, aliases, scars, tattoos, vehicles, gang affiliations, addresses and past criminal activities.
The Public Information Office typesets all the information and scans mugshot photos into an Adobe Pagemaker file with eight cards per page. The city’s print shop produces the cards on heavy stock and cuts them, and the cards are then distributed to the patrol division of the Lubbock Police Department. Most officers carry the cards in their shirt pockets for easy retrieval, but others have placed the cards in plastic sleeves inside notebooks, which they leave in patrol cars.
Within the first month of using the cards, police arrested 16 habitual offenders. And of the first 34 criminals that were identified, 24 now are in jail. Some of the career criminals left the Lubbock area when they learned of the card program, and many now are incarcerated in other cities.
Start-up costs for the card program totaled $200 for the stock and other materials. Turnaround time is minimal – it usually takes one day to prepare the cards and get them printed. And, because the cards are produced in-house, the department is easily able to protect the integrity of the information, as well as the suspects’ rights.
Companies, Organizations and Agencies Involved: Lubbock Police Department.