Euclid Service Department enjoying new salt structure

Jan. 22—Walking into Euclid’s main service department building, the smell of grease mixed with diesel fuel hits you immediately.

The sounds of Euclid’s metal fabricator, grinding new parts for rows of trucks, fill the large building.

Public Service Director Daniel Knecht says he’s lucky to be able to store his trucks inside during the winter as many municipalities don’t have such large buildings since they would be cost prohibitive to build now.

The building where Knecht stands was built before the 1940s when materials were cheap, and cities were eager to build up their infrastructure.

Now Euclid is bolstering their Service Department with the addition of a modern salt shed. With recent storms dropping temperatures into the low teens, the department has been able to put the shed to the test.

The over 16-foot-tall shed, which was approved by Euclid City Council in late June of 2023, was an upgrade to what Knecht and Euclid Streets and Sewers Manager Tom Bildstein or “Bean” as he’s known around the city, have had before.

The past salt storage facility was completed over 50 years ago from a construction kit, which was not uncommon for many cities to do at the time. After the old salt structure collapsed, Euclid had few options other than to build a new one.

“Our old shed was put together by the old city workers back in the day with a kit that was brought in,” Bildstein said while standing in a small puddle of aquamarine salt and black speckled snow. “Now, we have got this professional one that will last us a long, long, long time.”

Bildstein says now that they can use the new larger shed, they can use equipment side by side. Ease of access means that salt gets on the road quicker ensuring that emergency services can still get into hard-to-reach portions of the city.

“The fact that you can travel in and out of it and get two pieces of equipment in there, side by side, and run two motors-pushing salt and stacking it when it gets delivered,” Bildstein said. “It’s made it much more functional than the old shed itself.”

Richmond Heights is in a similar position as their salt structure is like the wooden one that Euclid used to have. Knecht says that the type of shed that was built for them, a steel skeleton with a polyethylene canvas, has become the new standard.

“There are some turnbuckles that help keep the cover tight,” Knecht said. “Besides that, the biggest maintenance is making sure the sides of the walls aren’t moving as the salt presses up against it.

“We are being told that we will have a 50-year life out of it, that’s what we are hoping for,” he added. “The canopy has a 20-year warranty but the rest of it we are being told has about 50 years. Lake County Engineer’s (Office) put one of these up several years ago; Willoughby Hills put one up last year.

“There’s a lot of them going up in the area as everyone does away with the old ones that they had.”

Knecht says that type of shed itself is also used in other industries. The demand meant that Euclid had to wait in line for one.

Greystone Construction, a Minnesota-based construction contractor, completed the $289,965 project by December. According to their website they have been building similar salt sheds for 20 years in dozens of states. This demand has caused some municipalities to have to wait for their structure to be built, Euclid was one of them.

“These have become the most cost-effective way of doing something like this,” Knecht said. “Besides salt storage, farmers use them. They will put their crops under them for winter storage or keep hay and straw under them. Some people use them as covers over structures for dairy cow. So, there are a lot of different uses for them.

“So, we were in a bit of a line to get ours, but now it’s here.”

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