Benton County might replace its aging public works maintenance shop in Kennewick.
Commissioners on Tuesday authorized the public works manager to seek an architect to draw up designs. The new shop would go on county land off Wiser Parkway.
Commissioner Shon Small called Tuesday's action a "step in the right direction," noting that if the replacement shop ultimately is built, the county would keep the cost within a tight parameter.
He said the existing Kennewick shop, on South Ely Street, has numerous issues. The main building was constructed more than 50 years ago, and the shop has, among other things, an outdated electrical system, a flat roof on which water gathers and leaks through, and a slab floor that has settled in some areas, according to information from the county.
"It's been a good building, but it's time to retire," said Public Works Manager Steve Becken.
The Wiser Parkway site is near Cottonwood Elementary School. Commissioners last week asked Becken to contact the Kennewick School District for its take on having a public works shop in the area.
In a letter to Becken, Superintendent Dave Bond wrote that, "we believe that the construction of such a shop would have little or no impact on the operations of Cottonwood Elementary School. Benton County currently has a shop area on Ely and 19th in Kennewick, near Southgate Elementary School, and we have never had any issues between the school and the county."
The county also has a public works maintenance facility in Prosser.
w Commissioners agreed to allow a U.S. Geological Survey geologist onto the county-owned quarry near Finley.
Geologists at Hanford years ago "recognized a potentially active fault near Wallula Gap, and identified an exposed strand of this fault" in the quarry, according to a letter from the USGS geologist to the county. The geologist is working on a regional project and wants to map the exposed strand -- a process that includes taking photos of the quarry wall, the letter said.