Rich Egger’s guest on this week’s Emphasis program is Gary Ziegler, Transit Director for McDonough County Public Transportation. They provide an audio tour of the new Macomb/McDonough County Transit Facility along East Pierce Street in Macomb.
The agency is renovating the former Porcelain Products Company factory into a storage and maintenance garage. The building will also house offices for dispatchers and administrators.
Ziegler said the final price tag is expected to be $11.2 million - $11.3 million.
“There’s no local money (being spent on the project). There is about $2.2 million of state money and the rest of it is federal money,” Ziegler said. He added the project will come in under budget.
The facility will be used by three providers: Go West, the Red Cross and Bridgeway.
The administrative area will include offices, a large classroom-style training room, lockers for the more than 100 full- and part-time drivers, a break room, and two adjacent dispatch centers -- one for fixed-routes and one for demand/response calls.
“The full length of this (the office area) – from the front all the way to the back and farther, because part of this was torn down – was a large kiln with railroad tracks that ran through it and small railroad cars would run through that kiln. That’s how they fired the porcelain products that they made here,” Ziegler said. “This was all sunken when it was a kiln. They came in and tore the kiln out and brought the floor up to the level of the rest of the building.
“It does not look anything like it used to look. It’s an amazing transformation of this particular area of the building.”
Ziegler believes renovations to the sprawling structure will be completed in February. The renovations were done to the western part of the former factory, while the middle section was torn down and converted to a parking lot, which separates the western part from the eastern.
The northeast part of that now-separate building is used by the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation. The southeast part serves as an e-waste recycling center. Entry to both of those is along Pearl Street.