South Portland Municipal Services Facility to open next month

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SOUTH PORTLAND — The long-anticipated Municipal Services Facility on Highland Avenue will open next month on time and on budget, according to a city official.  

The move will free up the former public works facility land on O’Neil Street for redevelopment.

Public Works Director Doug Howard on Monday told the City Council the 70,000-square-foot facility at 929 Highland Ave., adjacent to the transfer facility, will open next month.

It will house the Public Works, Transportation, and Parks and Recreation departments.

Howard said the city issued a “certificate of substantial completion” Sept. 29 to Great Falls Construction, which means the building is habitable and gives the construction company 30 days to finish any remaining work.

Howard said the “building is basically done” and the date of final completion is set for Oct. 30.

He said the target move-in date is Nov. 6.

An open house and ribbon-cutting are tentatively scheduled for Nov. 4.

Voters approved a $14 million construction bond in November 2013 to replace the existing facility at 42 O’Neil St.

Howard said the entire cost, including relocating the transfer station, was $16 million.

“The project has come in on time and on budget,” he said.

Space at the facility includes room for snow dumping, a sand and salt shed, school bus parking, a fuel station, and a greenhouse to grow plants for city properties.

The fuel station will include two underground, 10,000-gallon storage tanks to fuel all city vehicles, including fire trucks, ambulances and police cars. The facility also includes electric vehicle charging stations.

Howard said the O’Neil Street facility will not be completely vacated until next spring “as we need time to get what we need off of the site.”

On March 20, the council approved a 10-member ad-hoc committee, the O’Neil Street Facility Re-Use Planning Committee, to come up with proposals for what to do with the 6-acre lot after it is vacated.

So far, some recommendations that have been made include having the entire parcel turned into a park; creating a large, green space with a few houses, but mostly park; or a design that balances homes and green space.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

The South Portland Municipal Services building is nearing completion and is scheduled to open next month. An open house is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 4.

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