City speeds up process to build new salt barn

The sun has come out, WaterWorld of Washington is preparing to open, temperatures have climbed to close to 90 and the City of Washington has declared an emergency to build a new salt barn. The council declared an emergency to speed up the process for the Street Department to construct a new salt barn.

“You don’t want to think about salt for snow and ice today,” said Washington Mayor Joe Wellman.

The city has been forced to think about salt out of season for several reasons. The most important one is that the current salt barn is considered unsafe.

“The thing has been deteriorating,” said Wellman. “It’s not like it is a complete surprise. The surprise was how bad it is. We had a structural engineer look at the building in January or February and they came back and told us we are crazy if we try to put more salt back in that thing.”

Just like salt can be corrosive to vehicles, officials say extended exposure can cause problems to buildings as well. “A lot of the supporting timbers are split,” said Wellman. “Salt is kind of rough on any structure, so we’re looking at building a new one.”

The other reason for the emergency is that the city needs to replace the building right away. Under the purchasing guidelines, the city buys its salt in the summer when the price is low and stores it until it is needed in the fall and winter. That multi-ton salt purchase is just around the corner.

“We are supposed to take delivery on a salt order at the end of July or the first of August,” said Wellman. “That’s why we’ve got to get moving on it.”

The emergency declaration will allow the city to take some shortcuts in getting the salt bin built. Officials have decided to put it on a piece of vacant property at the South Side Park near the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Salt Dome on SR 57.