A vital infrastructure project in Walden is winding down, as the village’s new Department of Public Works facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of the month. Last June, the village board approved a $999,500 bond resolution to fund the construction of the new DPW headquarters, and 14 months later the council awarded a bid at its Aug. 8 meeting to LP Builders of Walden to put the final touches on the new building.
The company submitted a bid amount up to $102,000, and was chosen last Tuesday as the lowest of two bidders to complete finishing work on the project, including sheetrock, flooring, painting and trimming work. The village could cut down on that outlay if they choose to do the painting in-house, which Village Manager John Revella noted they are inclined to do. The new DPW facility is located at the same site of the previous space. “They took what was there down and increased the size,” Walden Mayor Susan Rumbold said of the 13,000-square-foot project.
After years of planning, the village decided last year that the prior DPW building, which dated back to 1949, no longer fit the modern needs of the village and the agency. “The other facility was very, very old and it couldn’t house all of our equipment and all of our vehicles,” Rumbold said. “So a lot of the vehicles were outside in the weather, which obviously isn’t good for that kind of equipment. This way everything will be housed inside and the mechanic will have a bigger area to work. Our Water Department was located on Cherry Street, so now they will be located in the same facility as the rest of the DPW. So it just made sense. It was really outdated and it wasn’t really serving our village well.”
The new site can hold up to 13 vehicles at one time, which should provide more value to the village when it purchases DPW trucks. “It was just to the point where, if we’re making an investment in vehicles, we want to get as long a service out of them as we possibly could,” Rumbold said. The new hub has a projected lifespan of approximately four decades, so the investment the village has made in the property should be beneficial for years to come.
The discussion on removing fluoride from Walden’s drinking supply that had been tentatively scheduled for last week’s board meeting has now been set for the group’s September 5 session. As part of the process for considering removal of the compound from the village’s water system, state law mandates that the board must hear testimony from at least one health professional before any preliminary decision can be made on the issue.
The village has invited numerous health experts to share their opinions with the administration about the topic, though it’s still up in the air if any specialist will appear at the September 5 meeting. “They were asked to,” Revella said. “We sent notices out to dozens of different professionals, including the county and state Department of Health. We welcomed them to come in person or send something in writing. We’ve got a couple of correspondences in writing from people, but I haven’t had anyone confirming that they’ll be here on the 5th yet. But it’s still early, and we’ll disseminate the written comments to the board.” The council plans to hold a fluoride discussion at its next meeting regardless of an expert appearance.
During last week’s meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution to accept funds from Orange County to implement the Stop DWI Crackdown Enforcement Campaign. The village wasn’t able to utilize the grant money on Memorial Day weekend in May due to staffing, so now the police department will deploy them over Labor Day weekend in order to cut down on drunk driving. The village received $1,800 from the program to set up police roadblocks during the upcoming holiday weekend, through September 4, in order to dissuade local motorists from getting behind the wheel when they’ve had one too many alcoholic drinks.
By Ted Remsnyder