Emergency funding approved for Depot

Funds will go toward installation of furnaces, air conditioning

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Anne Blankenship The Depot Museum will soon have new heating and cooling units, thanks to an emergency funding approved by the City Council Monday night. Larry Flaws, recreation and public grounds director, told the council that two of the two of the building’s three furnaces were inoperable. The lack of climate control has led to the growth of mold in the basement, Flaws said.

The Depot Museum at Wilson Brewer Park will soon be fitted with new heating and cooling units to provide climate control for the building and its artifacts.

The City Council of Webster City approved the request from Larry Flaws, director of recreation and public grounds for funding to replace two furnaces in the building.

Flaws said that while working with the Depot Committee to review artifacts in the basement of the building, several areas of black mold were noticed on the walls and some of the artifacts. He said there was also a very strong musty, mol smell.

Flaws explained that the furnaces were turned off in 2012 due to budget concerns.

“We believe that without heating and some sort of climate control that the building and its artifacts are deteriorating at an accelerated rate,” Flaws told the council in a memo.

He said that in working with the city’s electrician, one of the three furnaces was restarted. The other two are no longer working. He added that the furnaces were original to the building, installed in 1974 when the structure was moved to its present location in the park.

Flaws said the Wilson Brewer Park committee was working with Wayne Schlotfeldt of Schlotfeldt Engineering to do a study of the furnace situation.

“Two of the three heating systems are inoperable and all are low efficiency There are also two window air (conditioning) units that are also low efficiency and add to the heating demand because they remain installed year round,” Schlotfeldt said in a report to the council.

“Without adequate heating and cooling (with its associated moisture control), the condition of the building and artifacts will deteriorate further,” he said.

Schlotfeldt proposed removing the two existing low efficiency furnaces and window units in the main level, and repair the modified walls back to original condition. He suggested installing two new high efficiency furnaces and air conditioners in the basement in locations that will not conflict with future construction.

He said the new units will provide heating and cooling for the main level of the depot as well as supply some auxiliary heat and cooling for the basement. He added that the systems would be able to connect to the existing ductwork with moderate modification.

Flaws told the council that a renovation and improvements at the Depot are planned by the WBP committee in the coming years. The facility would serve not only as a museum but also as a welcome center for the community. He added that many other improvements at the park have been completed including the two log cabins, the Harmony School, Mulberry Center Church and the trail system throughout the park. This year, the committee hopes to complete upgrades and improvements at the old courthouse.

Flaws said the committee planned to apply for hotel/motel grant funds to repay the emergency funding to the city.


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