Talks set on major public works center |

Talks set on major public works center

Plans for a Truckee Public Service Center on 70 acres in town are still on track. And if the relocation of Forest Service, Town of Truckee and Truckee Fire facilities to a new site is successful, it could leave 82 acres of land near downtown up for grabs.

The 82 acres that the Forest Service currently calls the Truckee work center is on Indian Jack Road, on the north side of Interstate 80 up Bridge Street off Truckee’s Commercial Row. The agency, which says it has outgrown the aging center, has plans to put it up to bid by next winter to fund the construction of the new site it will share with the town and the fire district.

The current work center, which is zoned for a residential capacity of 41 homes, will be auctioned off under the Conveyance Pilot, a congressional authorization that allows the forest service to sell excess properties and use the proceeds for other agency projects. A minimum bid will be established before the auction, said Rick Maddalena, recreation and land use officer with the Tahoe National Forest.

Meanwhile, plans for the 90,000 square foot public center, which is planned for an area south of Interstate 80 and east of Donner Pass Road, are shifting slightly as they move ahead.

“Things have changed, and may still change,” said Maddalena.

The partners are now doing some “belt tightening” to see if the funding is available for the facilities they want to build, he said.

The Forest Service is still considering what type of environmental review will be needed for the project, since as a federal agency it is not subject to California environmental law. If all goes according to plan, construction on the first phase of the project could begin in 2006, said Maddalena.

The new center would enable the Forest Service to bring in firefighting crews and equipment that are strung out across the area in Hobart and at Stampede Reservoir. The proposed site, which is owned by the Forest Service, offers access to all parts of town.

Fire stations at Hobart and Stampede are so outdated that the engines no longer fit within the bay doors, Forest Service officials have said.

The new public service center would solve that problem with a three-bay fire station to go with a 10,00-square-foot office; a building for the fire handcrew stationed in Hobart; two, nine-person barracks; and a warehouse and shops. In the future the site could hold a visitor center and some townhouses for Forest Service employees.

The Forest Service will spearhead the National Environmental Policy Act process for the plans if they become an official project, while the Town of Truckee will take the lead in the state environmental review.

Truckee began a search for another location for its corporation yard, which houses public works equipment like snow and sand trucks, more than two years ago. The current yard sits near the river and adjacent to a neighborhood, making it a poor spot for a long-term yard, town officials said.

“In the winter we have 24-hour operations running out of there so it is very incompatible with the adjacent neighborhood,” said Public Works Director Dan Wilkins.

The yard, along with the animal control center, is expanding operations as the town grows, creating the need for new facilities.

Wilkins said that a new “state-of-the-art” corporation yard centrally located on the Forest Service land could improve efficiency and reduce employee costs to the town. The town council will make the final decision on whether to pursue the animal control and corporation yard plans on the Forest Service land.

Truckee Fire’s administrative building downtown is more suited to a commercial business than a fire district office, said Chief Mike Terwilliger. Among the difficulties with the downtown location is parking.

The district plans to move its administrative offices to the proposed site and also allow for a future two-bay fire station that could serve the Gray’s Crossing area.

The administrative building is planned as 10 offices and a reception area in a 10,000-square-foot building. The fire district plans to own the buildings but have a special use agreement or long-term lease to use the Forest Service land, Terwilliger said.

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