SPRINGWATER — The community was encouraged to come and see their tax dollars hard at work at the new Springwater Highway Barn on Hudson Road.
On Nov. 4 the town board welcomed members of the community to an open house at the new facility.
Springwater Town Supervisor Deborah Babbitt-Henry gave Genesee Country Express a special tour of the new buildings.
Babbitt-Henry said there is a full alarm panel installed that connects directly to Highway Superintendent Ron Mastin’s cell phone. Everything will be up-to-date and ready for use.
In the start the town board talked about attaching the salt barn to the highway facility, but decided on doing two buildings. This highly anticipated project cost $1.1 million to complete in less than two years.
“The bathroom is fully handicap accessible with a nice shower,” Babbitt-Henry said. “There is a space for emergency equipment. The guys can come in and clean up if they need too. They will have lockers too.”
There is bonus space within the facility just incase there was an emergency in the town and residents needed shelter.
“The highway guys put in many hours to paint the barn,” Babbitt-Henry said. “They painted their little hearts out. The guys will all have their own work stations built in during some down time. All of our highway vehicles have two plows attached to them; one on the front, and one on the side.”
The five highway employees have been in the new barn for three months now. Springwater has the highest number of road miles on their highway trucks than any other town in the whole county. The reason being they have a lot more back roads to plow and sand.
“All of the town vehicles have been switched to diesel now,” Babbitt-Henry said. “This will save the town a lot of money.”
Right now the salt barn is in good shape as far as a nice salt and sand mix is concerned. The town will pay as they need more salt from American Rock Salt. It will be delivered to the new salt barn as needed.
The oldest truck is kept in the salt barn to be used for spreading Brine on the dirt roads. This solution keeps the dirt roads from clouding up your vehicles.
Hudson Road had the gravel pit, but once that dried up the town decided to reclaim the property and build the new facility.
“The pit could no longer be used. We reclaimed the land, and built the new highway barns,” Babbitt-Henry said. “The old barn was not safe to work in anymore. This should have been done 20 years ago.”
Much of the work was done by local people, so the town saved a lot of money on the project.
“I have phenomenal people to work with in the town and on the board,” Babbitt-Henry said. “We work really well together as a team.”
Mastin said that he and his workers are really glad to have the new barn.
“If you go down to the old one it is a pig pen,” he said. “It is dirty and cold. You could never get the heat to work. After 37 years at the old place it is nice to be here.”
Mastin said he gets along well with the guys that work under him since they all grew up together.
Councilman Larry Gnau said the town got 60 years out of the old one, and they hope to get 50 or 60 years out of the new one.
“The old one was in rough shape,” he said. “It was like walking into a dungeon when you went over there. It was all rusted out due to the salt.”
Councilman Dave Cotter said the highway employees deserved to have a nice and safe place to work.
“I wish I could’ve been a part of the project from the very start, but I helped in the end,” he said. “This is something we can all be proud of.”
“At the end of the day it is about the people who voted you in,” Cotter said. “It is nice to see a good group of people show up (at the new facility) and see what we are doing.”
Babbitt-Henry said the old town hall and old barn will be reclaimed and put back on the tax roll.
“We have a beautiful community,” she said. “We all work hard for the community.”
Councilman Patricia Willsea said it takes a lot to keep a small town like Springwater going strong.
“We have always had a good highway department and have kept the roads plowed,” she said. “We have the longest amount of miles to keep maintained in the county. Ron has always done a nice job.”