Violet Township crews working to clear snow and ice from local roadways soon won't have to worry about thawing out their vehicles before taking to the streets.

Violet Township crews working to clear snow and ice from local roadways soon won't have to worry about thawing out their vehicles before taking to the streets.

By mid-February, Violet Township officials hope to open a new, heated facility for maintenance and storage of municipal vehicles and equipment.

The 11,595-square-foot building, to be called the Violet Township Service Center, is nearly complete, township officials said Jan. 21.

The projected cost of the new service center is approximately $2.7-million, which the township funded through government bonds. It has up to 25 years to repay that money.

"It looks like we're going to come in under budget, or at least on budget," said township trustee Gary Weltlich.

"We've been putting the project together for a couple years, but we started construction late-spring, early-summer 2008," said Bill Yaple, Violet Township director of operations. "We hope to get a temporary (occupancy permit) sometime in February and be able to move in."

The new facility will be located at 490 Center St., across the street from the unheated building the township's five-person, full-time road department currently calls home.

Township officials plan to maintain the old facility, but will limit its use primarily to housing tractors, road salt supplies and "cold storage," Yaple said. The new facility will be more comfortable for personnel, will allow township engineer Greg Butcher to relocate his office there from the township's administrative building and is expected to provide a better environment for vehicles and equipment.

"Imagine you're a township truck driver and you work all day or all night, and then you come back in and have to worry about all the snow and ice that stuck to your truck while you were working still being on the vehicle," Yaple said. "The trucks go out and run 24 hours a day a lot of times. When they put the trucks away or have breakdowns at 2 in the morning, they have to go back in that unheated facility to work on the trucks.

"We also feel in the long term this will be a lot better situation for the vehicles because there won't be the moisture conditions we have in the existing building," he said.

Additionally, the service center will provide ample space for township employees to perform maintenance on road and fire department vehicles. Currently, space constraints force fire department maintenance to be performed at township fire stations.

The final step to opening the building will be obtaining sanitary sewer services from the city of Pickerington.

"We're running sewer a half a mile to get to the Pickerington sewer system," Yaple said. "It could be hooked up as early as mid-February."

nellis@thisweeknews.com