County purchases Scranton property for secondary roads

The sale of the former armory to the Greene County Schools for use as a bus garage is not the only property transaction on the desk of county engineer Wade Weiss.

The county supervisors at their Jan. 3 meeting approved a purchase agreement to purchase property in Scranton for the eventual building of a new secondary roads garage. The property, located at 1609 Kendrick St, about a half-mile immediately north of the current secondary roads building, is being sold by Greteman and Associates. The purchase price is $26,500.

According to Weiss, the dilapidated home on the 2-1/2 acre site will be razed and the property will be cleaned up soon after the county takes possession. What comes next is still in the planning stages.

Weiss at the same meeting told the supervisors that boiler and septic inspections have been completed at the armory and the purchase agreement between the county and the schools is now in the hands of attorneys. The school will take ownership July 3.

The armory has been used for cold storage for secondary roads equipment, and Weiss had planned to replace that space with a large building at the site of the current Jefferson shop. Weiss told the supervisors Tuesday that more discussion is needed. He said it may be more prudent to put up a shell in Scranton that could be used for cold storage, and then move toward a new building in Jefferson.

The plan for a new Scranton shop is several years in the future. (The current Scranton shop was built in 1937. It is too small for modern equipment, the roof leaks significantly, and it hinders visibility at that intersection.) When the time comes to vacate the old shop, the shell on Kendrick St could be insulated and the building put into use as ashop, Weiss said. That option would delay the cost of a new Jefferson shop. The school is paying $250,000 for the armory; Weiss has estimated $330,000 for the new Jefferson shop.

Also since starting the sale of the armory and planning for new space, Weiss has put work on the bridge on County Road E-57 west of Highway 4 on “fast forward,” partly due to an accident on the bridge in November. Weiss said that project has changed the budget outlook for next year.

A 2017 bridge project is on fast forward, too. Low water levels in the Raccoon River are allowing work to begin soon on the bridge near Hyde Park on County Road N-65 (D Ave) in Kendrick Township. A pre-construction meeting was scheduled for Jan. 4 with work on the piers in the river to begin very soon.

A detour will be posted this week, with N-65 closed to through traffic between County Road E-39 (210th St) and County Road E-19 (140 St). The detour route takes vehicles from the intersection of N-65 and E-39 east to E-33, then north and east to P-14. The detour goes north to Churdan and then west on E-19. Weiss said the only “hard closure” will be in the vicinity closest to the bridge.

Three other smaller projects are also on Weiss’s desk. He is coordinating and supervising the contract for restoration of the large stained glass dome at the courthouse. That work should begin this month.

He is also overseeing the completion of the 4-octave carillon at the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower. Verdin Company is expected to return to Jefferson in late March with 38 bells ready to hang at the top of the bell tower. The expansion project is funded by the Bell Tower Community Foundation, but Weiss agreed to be oversee the project because of his experience in contract administration and because ultimately, the county owns the bell tower.

The third project is one Weiss volunteered for just last week. The flag on the top of the courthouse has been taken down for the winter because, according to auditor Jane Heun, it’s too challenging to deal with taking the flag down and up again for half-staff proclamations. Weiss said the secondary roads department will take over that responsibility. The supervisors asked him to look into mechanical or remote methods of raising and lowering the flag without needing to go out on the roof (via a hatch) to do so.


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