By Kathleen Ellyn
Wallowa County Chieftain
Enterprise City Council has announced plans for a new city hall and fire house are moving forward with smiles on the faces of city officials.
The old structure burned in June. Discussions with the city’s insurance carrier have been ongoing since.
Representatives from the city described their recent conference with insurance adjusters as so positive that they were “dumbfounded,” said City Administrator Michele Young.
“It was just the best meeting ever,” she said.
Upgrades for the city hall may be in the works as a result of good planning and frugality.
Savings began almost immediately when city staff located a usable local office building on Main Street to relocate city hall.
That move saved the amount insurance would have had to fork out for temporary trailers.
The second significant savings came as the city presented its design.
“The current city hall and fire hall structure is cinder block, and to rebuild it as it is — that expense is astronomical,” said council member Micah Agnew. “Because we were willing to go with a different construction medium and use a prefab pre-engineered pole-barn style, that brought us way under expense-wise.”
The city also benefits by owning the land next to the burned out city hall, making the adoption of a larger single-story footprint much easier to consider. The building will stretch across the old city hall and fire station footprint and extend to River St. adjacent to the Burnaugh Building.
Approximately $1.3 million is available for construction.
City representatives are now moving on to create a blueprint. Early last week, they toured Island City facilities to study potential designs.
One major step remained –– finding a garage for the fire trucks. Young was able to announce at the regular Jan. 8 city council meeting that staff had located a suitable building and an insurance-approved agreement had been drawn up with Enterprise Electric and Rental for rental of the Hillock building at 803 S. River Street.
Council approved the agreement to pay $4,000 per month, including utilities, to lease the building. The lease begins March 1.
The new fire hall could be built by Sept. 30, but if the lease has to be extended, it can be, Young said.
One concern was that although the temporary fire hall site is zoned commercial, it is in a residential area.
“We need to respect the people who live there,” Young said.
The plan is that firemen will arrive at the temporary firehouse via River Street and exit in engines onto Tacoma Street but not hit the siren until they are out of the residential area.