This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Gas department open house
On Wednesday the city gas utility had an open house for its new home, the building that until recently was the Rensselaer plant of Morning Song Bird Seed, and previous to that, had housed a beer distributorship. (Was anything there before the beer distributorship?) The city has been busy making changes in the building to get it ready for its new use. A very recent addition was the new sign in front of the building.
Upon entering the building, one could see that it consisted of three large areas with a small office area in front. Below you can see where the gas department was serving hot dogs and chips for those who attended the open house. Behind is the office area. The stairs lead to another room that may eventually be used as a conference room. Not visible in this picture, but to the right of the office area that is visible, the city installed partitions that create a couple of rooms that can be used for a variety of purposes.
Here is one of the offices. I could see the elevator across Cullen through the window when I clicked the shutter, but what the human eye saw and what the camera could see were not the same thing.
In the front bay was a truck that I do not recall seeing before, though I was told that the city has had it for about ten years.It supports a jackhammer and can use a jet of water to clean out areas around in-ground meters.
By the time I arrived, only one vendor was actively presenting its product. This vendor produces a mapping database system that Rensselaer uses. It has an aerial photograph of Rensselaer as its ground layer, and this is very much like google maps or google earth. Overlayed on that are roads, gas lines, power lines, lot lines, and a variety of other things that the city wants included. Each lot can be queried and a variety of information about the lot, including the owner, pops up. When the gas department has to go on a service call, they can go prepared, knowing approximately where the underground gas lines are.
From the first bay we can see into a second bay which is lit by a different kind of light. The first bay had been cleaned out for the open house. It will normally be used to park the vehicles that the gas department uses. The second bay will be a work area.
Below is the view from the second bay back into the first bay.
Around the outside of the second bay were shelves full of pipes, fittings, meters, and all the hardware that the gas department needs to do its job. The yellow tubing is a plastic pipe that the city now uses for gas lines. Did you know that they were using something other than metal?
Finally there is a third bay. This part of the building seems to have been added some time after the other parts were constructed. When it was used by Morning Song, and perhaps when it was used by the beer distributorship, this area was filled with shelves, and the bolts holding the shelving to the floor are still visible, though they have been cut off level with the concrete. It is now used for storing vehicles and other large items. You can see the city street cleaner in the corner. Not shown but in the opposite corner was the Santa House that was in Milroy Park at Christmas time. The park department will use some of this area for storage, as will the waste-water treatment plant.
This new building gives the gas department about three times as much room as it had in its former building. The old gas department building, which is near the east end of Walnut across the street from the city recycling center, is now occupied by the city water department. It can put six trucks inside and can now store its equipment and supplies in less cramped quarters.