July 29, 2015

Proposed location for bus barn causes concern

By Daniel Arens

There is concern among some Hazen residents about the proposed location for a bus barn on the site of the Heritage Park.
These residents had the opportunity to voice concerns at the Hazen City Commission meeting July 27. Most concerns that the city has heard relate to the fact that the land was designated for the park or that placing a bus barn at the location would be aesthetically unpleasing.
Lauren Donovan said she understood the proximity of the park to the schools is what made the location desirable, but that the long-term implications of the city’s decision should be considered. She went on to say that, although the park is not as developed as some others in the city, it is still used by families and could be beautified further.
Donovan thanked the board for supporting the idea of the bus barn, which she said is valuable to the community, and that the issue she had was with the location, not the idea of the new facility itself.
Mike Krause brought up that the city had previously considered the former National Guard Armory in town and that the city should plan carefully on the location. He recommended waiting to see if a better alternative came about in the future. Krause said that, if the Pioneer Park Home project does not succeed, that location could also be considered as viable for a bus barn.
Commission President Jerry Obenauer said that these concerns would be taken into careful consideration, and that there are alternative locations that the city could look at for the future bus barn. He mentioned specifically examining the area north of the fire hall as a possibility. The armory has already been sold, so although it would have been a viable location, it is no longer an option.
Valerie Albrecht, the secretary of the Hazen Public Library, spoke later at the meeting, giving out letters to the commissioners and addressing her concerns for the safety of kids who are “free” and can run in and out of the library, alongside of which the new bus barn would be built. She was also concerned that the new facility would curtail future library expansion and remove an open space where the library and other community organizations held events.
Parks and Recreation Director Dan Frei asked where buses would be parked in winter if the new bus barn is not constructed by then. Obenauer replied that some of the older buses would have to be parked outside due to the restricted space of current bus parking.
The city commission spoke with City Engineer Mark Johnson of Ulteig concerning the current RV Park plat. Johnson said that the property described in the abstract is in fact partly owned by the county. The city will need to recognize the county as a co-owner, but the logistics of the project will not change.

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