FOLEY – A new facility to house Foley’s Public Works Department will provide a central, safe location for city services over the upcoming decades.

The new campus is planned in a two-block area near the intersection of North Poplar Street and East Section Avenue. Mayor Ralph Hellmich said help meet the demands for services as Foley continues to grow.

“It will consist of sanitation and the Public Works Department, and it will meet our needs for the next 30 or 40 years,” Hellmich said in a recent interview. “That project is going to take about a year to build that out. But it’s going to be very nice, very modern.”

The mayor said the new center will provide a safe place for trucks and other equipment during hurricanes and other events.

“It’ll allow us to house our equipment and make it safe during storms which is very important because during Hurricane Sally the wind was still blowing and I walked outside my house and and we’re looking around and here comes down the street our Public Works Department pushing trees and limbs and things out of the road while the storm was still going on,” Hellmich said. “So getting them out there as soon as possible helps in restoring what’s normal and will allow us to meet our needs.”

While construction has not started on the campus, city officials are going ahead with some purchases for the site.

The City Council voted Monday, May 1, to approve purchases of a new fuel system and rotary lifts for the new campus.

The fuel system will cost $504,000, according to bid reports. Darryl Russell, public works director, said delivery time for some of the items in the fuel system is about 30 weeks. Making the purchase now will ensure that the system is ready when construction begins.

Hellmich said the new system will increase the city’s capacity and allow more fuel to be ready during emergencies.

“When we looked at this project, we looked at the uses of fuel in regard to disasters, and we asked them to increase the capacity because we were having issues during the hurricanes of supply,” Hellmich said. “So we asked for the city to be more resilient to have a little longer supply.”

The mayor said more fuel will also be needed as the city grows.

“The fact is that we’re growing,” he said. “Our fleets are bigger. We have more trucks, we have more police cars, things of that nature. So this one is going to be a bigger fuel island. It will give us more resiliency.”

The council also voted to buy rotary equipment lifts. The lowest bid price was $154,590.

Russell said the lifts will allow city crews to work on all Foley equipment.

“There are lifts in here that will lift a fire department’s ladder truck if need be. So that’s how that’s how big we’re going,” Russell said.