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Some say no basement in DeKalb police station is design flaw

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Some members of the DeKalb City Council raised concerns Monday about the lack of a basement in the new DeKalb police station.

The issue surfaced while a representative from PSA Dewberry, the architecture firm in charge of designing the $12 million building, as well as a construction manager and city officials, gave the council an update on the building’s design phase.

Mayor Kris Povlsen said he is worried about where furnaces, ductwork and heating and air conditioning will be without a basement.

“Once we do this without a basement, it’s forever,” he said.

Third Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash said she is concerned about housing the emergency operations center on the second floor because it likely will be used during inclement weather.

Sixth Ward Alderman Dave Baker said he supports plans without a basement because a basement is costly. Public Works Director T. J. Moore said the plans compromise storage in favor of necessary police functions.

“The lowest level was the most expensive real estate on the entire project,” Moore said. “... We could get everything we absolutely needed to have by giving up something we wanted to have.”

The council also approved an electrical aggregation plan, which followed a second public hearing. Voters approved a referendum in March that allows the city to bundle electrical loads for residents and small-business owners.

The city is working with Rock River Energy Services to develop an operation plan. Moore said the switch to new rates, which will be bid out May 29, could happen in late July or early August.

Residents can opt out of the program without additional cost at least once every three years.

According to meeting documents, the provider may or may not charge an early termination fee for those who choose to opt out after a set period.

“I can say with some hope that the prices that have been coming back recently have been very, very good,” Moore said. “I’m hopeful that there will be savings.”

In other business, Ellwood House Association officials are seeking about $375,000 in tax increment financing funds over the next five years to create a more unified museum campus.

Brian Reis, executive director of the Ellwood House Museum, gave a presentation Monday that included plans to upgrade the nearby Nehring house, which was donated to the Ellwood House Association in December.

Reis said the Ellwood House Association’s innovative art and music events, museum residency program, youth program, room rentals, weddings and preservation of historical buildings draw between 7,000 and 8,000 visitors to the site each year.

To create a “comprehensive historical site,” Reis said about $445,000 in upgrades are required to bring the site into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and to make necessary site improvements.

The five-year plan requires drawing $75,000 a year in TIF funds from the city.

The City Council did not vote, but at least one council member supports the plan.

“I think it’s a great use of TIF funds,” 5th Ward Alderman Ron Naylor said.

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