City official are rolling out details of a planned Public Works facility that will replace the department's aging headquarters on Congress Street. City Manager Joe Slocum said the "once-in-50-years" project is long overdue, but selling it to voters might take some work.

"We want to talk about it because we haven't built a city building from scratch in a long time," he said. "There are a lot of unique twists with utility use and insulation. We're trying to make decisions for the next 50 years."

The facility is be built on a 34.5-acre parcel on Crocker Road, purchased by the city in 2016 for $260,000. It would replace a cramped and dilapidated four-acre facility on Congress Street that has served as the hub for for city road work, plowing and other infrastructure projects for 55 years.

Slocum said there is no estimate yet of the total cost, but he said it would be "in the millions." He anticipates putting a bond request to voters in the fall.

In the meantime, the city has hired Ledgewood Construction of South Portland to manage the project and hire subcontractors. Slocum said the company is the process of getting estimates.

Only a small portion of the Crocker Road property would be used for the new facility — another portion is earmarked for a large solar electric installation, and much of the property would be left undeveloped for now.

Rough plans presented at the Jan. 16 City Council meeting showed a long driveway from Crocker Road to two buildings at the west end of the property. The larger of the two, a garage, would house all of the department's current vehicles and would include a wash bay, storage, offices, restrooms and a break room.

The building would be heated in some spaces, Slocum said, and it would be well-insulated to avoid problems the city found in energy audits of its other buildings.

A separate salt and sand storage shed would have a steel frame with a fabric roof designed to be replaced periodically. Wide margins were left around the two buildings for piles of bulk materials.

Slocum has dedicated significant portions of the last two City Council meetings to discussing the new facility. Speaking Jan. 23, he said he wants voters to understand that the city is being diligent in all aspects of planning.

"It's a thing that houses big ugly pieces of equipment that we need to take care of our day-to-day lives," he said. " We want to make sure people understand we're going through a very thorough vetting process."

In other business, the council:

• Heard an update on warming centers and emergency shelters in the city. Waldo County Emergency Management Agency Director Dale Rowley said there are some gaps in the city's ability to help residents during cold snaps or power outages. A warming center at Troy Howard Middle School is not available during school hours and a shortage of volunteers at the American Red Cross has forced that organization to be more selective with its aid, Rowley said. The EMA director said he is working with United Methodist Church to establish a "mini shelter" with 12 cots at the church on Mill Lane.

• Approved a credit enhancement agreement with Front Street Shipyard that will allow the company to get bank financing for its 21,000-square-foot Building 6 workshop.

• Approved hiring Robert "Bobby" Richard as a full-time police officer.