The Beals Senior-Community Center needs as much as $5 million in repairs to its heating system.
Public Works Director Walter Veselka said the city had to make emergency repairs to two sections of steam tunnel pipes at the senior center because they were leaking.
But it’s not entirely clear that the repairs are going to prove sufficient even for the short run.
Morris Laveiro, a public works commissioner, said a game plan should be in place in case the entire heating system crashes “which they predict it very possibly can.”
Another member of the public works panel, Frank Stawski, said a consultant warned the city two years ago about the risks there.
Mayor Art Ward said Wednesday there is “a longstanding problem” with the heating system that’s going to have to be addressed.
Veselka said the city has plans “to keep that system operational” but acknowledged it has significant problems.
He said, though, it wasn’t his role to make a contingency plan for the entire building should the heating system die.
Ward said that city leaders should talk with Peggy Sokol, the director of the senior center, “to make sure we have one.”
Sokol did not return calls Wednesday.
Veselka said the long-term fix is already part of the city’s five-year capital improvement plan, which lists likely projects that various departments hope to embark on.
The initial capital project list last spring included $2.2 million for upgrades to the senior center’s heating system, plumbing and other systems.
But officials did not include any money for it in the final project list approved as part of the budget for this fiscal year.
The tab for the repairs could run as high as $5 million, public works officials said.
City Comptroller Glenn Klocko said that some projects may be funded in next year’s budget if it can be shown that failing to do them soon would pose a danger to the public or to city workers. He warned that any requests would be scrutinized carefully by Ward, the comptroller’s office, city councilors and the Board of Finance.
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