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A sewer line maintenance vehicle backs into a garage at the Water Protection Line Maintenance Division on South Belt Highway. A lack of proper space is one of the reasons the city hopes to relocate the division to the west side of St. Joseph.

A plan to relocate a city Water Protection division could soon be taking a step toward completion.

Currently, the Water Protection Line Maintenance Division operates out of a shared space with the recycling center at 3405 South Belt Highway, but the city hopes to move the operation to a spot near City Yards in the 2200 block of South Fourth Street.

On Monday, the City Council will see a first reading on a property purchase at 2204 South Fifth Street for $39,060.

This will be the fourth and final property needed to relocate the division, according to Superintendent of Streets and Infrastructure Keven Schneider.

Schneider said there are several reasons that the city wants to move the division, including the amount of traffic that develops on the Belt Highway during the morning and evenings when they’re picking up and dropping off large sewer utility trucks.

“Traffic has always been a concern,” Schneider said. “Luckily, we’ve never had any accidents, but going in traffic with that big equipment lumbering on and off the Belt, that’s one of the concerns.”

He said another issue is space. The trucks and equipment needed to clean and maintain the sewers and manholes are large, and newer models are always made bigger, according to Schneider.

“We’re really tight on space,” Schneider said. “As a matter of fact, our trucks right now, when they are parked in the building, you can’t really walk around in front of back of them its so tight. It’s almost a ballet trying to get them back in and pulled out. You’ve got to be very careful.”

Schneider said the new location will feature “lean to” style storage sheds similar to what is used at City Yards. The current, enclosed storage buildings at the Belt location can fit three of the large vacuum trucks, but do not allow for movement around the vehicles while the garage doors are closed.

If the final property is bought, a total of $166,060 will have been spent on land acquisition for the relocation.

Schneider said the next step would be to design the facility that will need to be built there. He said there are no known plans for the building on the Belt, but it is in a prime location for resale.

Brendan Welch can be reached

at brendan.welch@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWelch.