The job of turning vacant warehouse-like space on Russell Street into the new home for Covington’s Public Works Department is being turned over to Radius Construction.
In a specially called meeting on Friday, the Covington Board of Commissioners voted to hire the company for $2.94 million to take a redesign created by Hub+Weber Architects and make it a reality.
The building at 1730 Russell – the former home of Cincinnati Tag & Supply – has 68,000 square feet and sits on 3.68 acres tucked up against the CSX railroad tracks.
The City bought the property last year as part of a major “musical chairs” economic development deal that will free up the current Public Works complex at the southwestern end of Boron Drive for the new regional headquarters of Rumpke Waste & Recycling. Rumpke bought the property for $8 million from the City and will also build a new state-of-the-art transfer facility.
Covington-based Radius will begin the work on Public Works’ home immediately and – subject to weather and supply-chain challenges – finish in February 2022, said Ken Smith, Covington’s interim city manager.
“It can’t happen soon enough,” said Chris Warneford, Covington’s Public Works Director. “We’re going to have a bigger building, be able to house all of our operations under one roof, have a better ventilation system, be away from the transfer station, and be more centrally located as related to the urban core of the city. We’re excited.”
The renovated building will be subdivided to hold offices; the mechanics’ bays for the department’s Fleet Management Division; a sign-making operation; and storage for equipment, tools, supplies, and vehicles.
Among the work required will be the installation of more floor drains, a more sophisticated ventilation system, expanded electric capacity, and doors of various sizes.
Separately, Public Works employees are grading the site and building a slab that will serve as a foundation for the dome-shaped building that will house road salt for winter treatment. The salt dome will be built via a separate contract.
The Public Works Department maintains the City’s streets and sidewalks, medians, parks, facilities and fleet, and urban tree canopy.
Operations include filling potholes; paving road surfaces; repairing sidewalks, curbs, and catch basins; sweeping streets; plowing snow; collecting leaves; cutting grass and weeds; pruning, removing and planting trees; fixing playground equipment; and repairing and maintaining police cruisers, fire trucks, and dump trucks.
It has 60-70 employees, depending upon the season.
Smith said the Commission called the special meeting to approve the contract because of the time constraint and because there is no Commission meeting on Tuesday.
“Both Public Works and Rumpke want to be in their new homes, and we want to make that happen as soon as we can,” he said. “It’s a win for everybody.”
City of Covington