At a special meeting on Nov. 9, the Ypsilanti City Council approved a resolution to purchase a $3.7 million building to replace the failing Department of Public Services (DPS) facility.
DPS laid out a proposal, given at the Nov. 9 meeting, detailing the goals of the department and the need for a new facility. Some goals included retaining and attracting staff and investing in infrastructure.
With 27 employees, DPS makes up over 20% of all city employees. The department provides the city with routine maintenance services and disaster response, including trash pickup, snow removal, and more.
The current DPS facilities, located at 14 W. Forest Ave., spans 2.4 acres and has buildings dating back to the 19th century.
Immediate structural issues were cited in the presentation including severe deficiency in the roof structure of the main building, significantly uneven concrete flooring, and coal dust embedded in walls.
Other problems were also outlined in the proposal, emphasizing the department’s request to city council for next steps to be taken.
The next steps included the possibilities of building a new facility, renovating the existing facility, or relocating to a new facility.
Weighing the pros and cons of the given options, city council member Desirae Simmons wanted to do her best to serve the people most affected by the situation.
“Understanding that our DPS workers both are a significant part of our workforce, as well as they both have some of our longest-serving staff, as well as our newest staff, as well as being one of our most diverse departments, so I was thinking about all of that … as an employer,” Simmons said.
Simmons voted in favor of the new building proposed by the department after learning repairs to the current DPS facility were likely to be delayed.
“I think the totality of all the different issues started to add up,” Simmons said.
A resolution to allocate the money from reserves in order to purchase the building was passed. There will be an estimated construction cost of $2.75 million and a transition time of one to three months.