Wheeling Council To Decide on Putting Public Safety Building Levy Before Voters

Photo by Joselyn King The city of Wheeling has plans to build a $20 million public safety building on Market Street across from Market Plaza.

WHEELING — The city of Wheeling may be asking voters this fall not just for a $20 million public safety building, but also funding for improvements to fire stations and the purchase of a new fire truck.

According to City Manager Robert Herron, an ordinance establishing a levy will be on city council’s agenda next week.

Language contained in the ordinance provides details as to just what voters might be asked to approve if the levy goes on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

In addition to $20 million for construction of a public safety building, the proposed levy as written would seek an additional $1 million for renovations to the city’s five remaining fire stations, and another $500,000 for a fire truck.

Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the City-County Building, 1500 Main St., Wheeling. A finance committee meeting at 5 p.m. precedes the council meeting.

Herron said the city has retained M&G Architects of Wheeling, and their representatives are presently working with Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger and Fire Chief Larry Helms to craft a conceptual plan for the new city building. Current plans call for the building to be constructed on Market Street in a parking lot across from Market Plaza and the Stone Center.

“We expect to have the drawing, and a rendering about what it will look like, in the next two to three weeks,” Herron said. “If council approves the ordinance, we would have the issue on the November ballot. It then would take six months — maybe longer, for design phase. Then we would have two years of construction after that. We hope to have the building under construction this time next year — at least that is the goal.”

The city also is also looking to build a parking garage with an expected cost of $10 million on Market Street across from the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building.

Plans for the garage are contingent on development plans for the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building, according to Herron.

“This should be coming up in the next few months,” he said. “Our plans are dependent on making sure the Wheeling-Pittsburgh steel building is being developed. Right now they are cleaning it out,” Herron said. “They haven’t indicated whether they are moving forward, but we are anticipating they will.”