Park ridge aldermen consider air quality fixes for city hall, police station – park ridge herald-advocate

Park Ridge aldermen have tentatively agreed to budget nearly $219,000 to address several “indoor air quality” issues that were recommended following a recent study of City Hall and the police station.

City Manager Shawn Hamilton said the funding will cover heating and cooling fixes in the lower-level police station, the City Council chambers and other areas of City Hall. These include, but are not limited to, air conditioning repairs for parts of the building, the installation of an all-building dehumidification system and conversion from natural gas heating to hot water heat, according to a memo from Hamilton to the City Council.

“That air quality issue has been a problem down in the building for a long time,” Police Chief Frank Kaminski said during a March 10 city budget meeting. “We’ve had reports now that we’ve talked about and it needs to get fixed.”

A recurring mold problem has been an issue in the police station, Kaminski has said repeatedly over the years. He proposed a renovation plan that, in addition to security improvements, space upgrades and a locker room for female officers, would help fix ventilation in the building, but elected officials have repeatedly cut this funding from the budget, as recently as last November.

Appearing optimistic that the ventilation work will take place in the next year, Kaminski this week said he is “very pleased” with the support shown for funding it.

“I know the employees appreciate the council moving forward on that,” he said.

Sixth Ward Ald. Marc Mazzuca, who was opposed to budgeting funds for Hamilton’s recommended heating and air conditioning improvements, said any projects that are done should meet some kind of government standards first.

“If were going to proceed based on some evaluation, OSHA (the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to me is an authority and a credible one,” Mazzuca said. “I want to make sure we’re lined up correctly and not doing something that doesn’t provide a safe workplace.”

On March 10, proponents of police station improvements – including a group of Park Ridge American Legion members – urged the City Council to make air quality in the police station a priority.

“It seems to me somebody is not getting the agenda item moved up to the priority it deserves,” said former alderman Frank DePaul, who also commented that the environment of the police department was an issue more than 25 years ago. “Health and safety always come first. Employees who have health problems related to that poor environment 10, 20 years from now could sue the city.”

“The studies have been done and now it’s time for action,” said Tracy Stern, also of the American Legion.

The American Legion representatives also called upon the city to pay for the other upgrades Kaminski has proposed for the station.

Hamilton said on March 10 that money is proposed in the 2016-17 budget for architect and engineering work related to addressing health and safety issues throughout City Hall. He identified building security, the female locker facilities in the police station and proper segregation of suspects, victims and witnesses as some of the existing issues that will be addressed.

jjohnson@pioneerlocal. com

Twitter: @Jen_Pioneer