Proposal to put parole office at Argentine site moves forward

A project to put a parole office in a new public safety building proposed in the Argentine area moved forward tonight.

About 30 people turned out at a Unified Government Standing Committee meeting in support of the idea for a new public safety building on the grounds of the old Structural Steel site in the Argentine area.

The public safety building also would include a new South Patrol police station.

UG Commissioner Ann Murguia presented the idea to the committee, and the committee voted 6-0 to move the idea forward.

Murguia said she had held a community meeting with Argentine neighborhood leaders recently, and there was no opposition at the meeting.

The site of the public safety building office would be on a large site being developed near 21st and Metropolitan Avenue, where there is a Walmart Neighborhood Market being built. Not far from it is a new Save a Lot grocery store.

The public safety building would be on an environmentally remediated site, as it was a former silver smelting facility.

Murguia said the cost of a public safety building would be about $6 million, and it would be large enough to house more than the police station.

Over the next 20 years, she is estimating that Walmart will generate about $3 million in extra revenues for the community, leaving a $3 million gap. With a lease from the state for the parole office, $2 million over a 10-year period, that would bring the gap closer to $1 million, she said.

While in one sense the funding would come from outside the taxpayers, it will not all be realized until the end of a decade or two, and so the UG would need to fund the building through bonds or a note.  Murguia added that she would continue seeking grant funding for the project, and has already asked the Walmart Foundation for a grant.

The parole office earlier tried to move from its current location not far from 18th and I-70 to a new location at 7th and State Avenue, next to a child care center. That proposal met with considerable community opposition.

Rep. Val Winn led an effort in the state Legislature to defund any parole office location that is next to a child care center.

Murguia said the state’s lease is up in July at its present location for the parole office, but the state would see if it could extend it through the rest of the year.

In the future, as the idea for the public safety building progresses, more community meetings will be held to receive public comments, according to Murguia.

To see an earlier story, visit

Bach named UG administrator

March 8, 2014

by Mary Rupert

Doug Bach, deputy Unified Government administrator, was named the UG’s administrator today, replacing Dennis Hays.

Bach was chosen by Mayor Mark Holland and confirmed by a 9-0 vote of the UG Commission Saturday, March 8.

Serving as deputy administrator since 2003, Bach started with the local government in 1991, when he was employed as a budget analyst.

Hays, who retired on March 6, was the only administrator the combined city and county government has had, serving since consolidation in 1997.

Bach was nominated by Mayor Mark Holland and confirmed by UG Commissioners on a 9-0 vote about 8 a.m. Saturday. The commission was holding a strategic planning session at City Hall.

The commission hired a search firm that conducted a national search, with over 100 interested candidates and 39 resumes presented, Holland said. The mayor interviewed eight candidates. Three finalists were interviewed and presented to the commission during a closed UG session.

“I said from the beginning I thought this should be a nationwide search,” Mayor Holland said, based on the quality of the candidates.

“In looking at the resumes we saw nationally and from the interviews, Doug is our clear choice today,” Holland said.

“Doug has said he looks forward to working with the commission and with myself as we continue to create the vision we share with the community,” he said.

Bach said he would like to keep improving the community, with more emphasis on neighborhoods, and also working with the goals the commission has laid out.

Commissioner Mike Kane said it would be hard to fill former Administrator Dennis Hays’ shoes, but Bach is a good selection. He cited his number of years of experience. Kane said it was important that the commission voted unanimously in favor of him.

Commissioner Jane Winkler Philbrook said, “I think he has the right background. He’s been here long enough to know the ropes, and he’s excited about moving into the leadership role. I think he’ll shine. He really cares about this community.

“He knows what we want and he’s willing to work with us,” she said.