Public Works

Keys to the municipal building a big issue

Keyless SystemThe resolution by Alderperson Kevin Mathewson (8th district) to direct that all alderpersons be given a key to the municipal office building was a major topic of discussion at three meetings earlier tonight.  The item appeared on the Public Works Committee, Finance Committee, and Common Council meeting agendas.

At the Public Works Committee meeting, Alderperson Jan Michalski said that, as long as he’s been an alderperson, he has not had a key.  He said that he realizes it might be financially burdensome for some alderpersons to go to a coffee shop with their constituents, but there are other public places to meet, like the library.  Plus, he mentioned other issues regarding liability, logistics, etc.  He also said that the issue would be moot anyway since the mayor said that a keyless system was being looked into.

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Resolution approved urging governor to OK Kenosha casino

Gov Walker casinoAt tonight’s Common Council meeting, an agenda item included a resolution sponsored by Alderperson Patrick Juliana and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Michael Orth, Jan Michalski, Curt Wilson, Tod Ohnstad, Scott Gordon, Eric Haugaard, Jesse Downing, and Rocco LaMacchia to urge the governor to approve the casino proposed for the city of Kenosha.  The resolution was approved by a vote of 12 to 2.

Alderpersons Kevin Mathewson and David Bogdala voted against the resolution.  Mathewson said that he didn’t feel that a “nasty letter should be sent to the governor.”  Bogdala said that he voted against it because his constituents are opposed to the casino at Dairyland.

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Holiday trash collection and drop-off site hours

trashThere will be a one-day delay for curbside collection of garbage, recycling, tire, and bulk collection routes for the Christmas day holiday beginning Tuesday, December 25, 2012. Tuesday’s routes will be picked up on Wednesday, Wednesday’s routes on Thursday, Thursday’s routes on Friday, and Friday’s routes on Saturday, December 29, 2012.

For the New Year’s day holiday, the delay will begin on Tuesday, January 1, 2013. Tuesday’s routes will be picked up on Wednesday, Wednesday’s routes on Thursday, Thursday’s routes on Friday, and Friday’s routes on Saturday, January 5, 2013.

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Public works releases map for 2013 resurfacing

At Monday’s Public Works Committee meeting, Mike Lemens, public works director, unveiled the 2013 resurfacing map:

Flag 001_opt

The list of streets scheduled for resurfacing in 2013 include:

  1. 26th Avenue:   31st Street to 34th Street
  2. 34th Avenue:   86th Place to 88th Place
  3. Lincoln Rd Intersections:      28th Avenue and 22nd Avenue
  4. 70th Street:      39th Avenue to 40th Avenue
  5. Cul-de-Sacs:   87th Place West of 42nd Avenue and 44th Avenue south of 87th Place
  6. 40th Street:      Sheridan Road to 80 feet East

If there are any questions, they can be answered by Clement Abongwa, assistant city engineer.  He can be reached on (262) 653-4166.

Common Council votes to restore hourly bus service on Saturday

At the Kenosha Common Council Committee of the Whole meeting held earlier tonight, one of the motions that was approved was to include $25,873 in the Transit budget to provide hourly bus service for all of the Saturday routes.  This motion was made by Alderperson Tod Ohnstad.  The reason he gave was that it helps the elderly, the handicapped, and those less fortunate in the community.  “This is a ‘trial balloon,'” he said.  “It will again be reviewed to possibly continue funding in the future.”  At least three citizens had spoken during the public hearing in favor of this service restoration.

Alderperson David Bogdala asked Mayor Keith Bosman if he was in support of this ‘trial balloon,’ and the mayor replied that he had no position on it.  Alderperson Michael Orth noted that revenue miles were down from last year, but that ridership was up.  Demand was more now than it was a year ago.

The roll call vote was 16 to 1, with Bogdala being the sole dissenting voter.

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Finance Committee also approves 2013 executive budgets

Photo by mensatic via

Tonight, the Finance Committee reconvened to finish up the review of the 2013 budgets.  The focus tonight was on the 2013 executive operating budgets.  This meeting lasted a little over three hours.  Alderperson Tod Ohnstad was not present at tonight’s meeting.  The budgets were approved by a vote of 4 to 1, with Alderperson David Bogdala being the sole dissenting voter.

Mayor Keith Bosman said that the budget of $71.9 million is one in which there are no reductions in service planned.  He mentioned the decreased shared revenue and increased health care costs, the proposed 2% employee raise, and the increased burden of health care on the city’s employees.  He thanked the employees for working with administration over the years.

The current budget increases the tax levy by 2.2%.  Frank Pacetti, city administrator explained the effect on the average homeowner.  Assessed values in the city have decreased 11%.  The average home value went from $147,400 last year to $126,700 this year, a 14% decrease.  Applying the mil rate against the assessed value yields 10.288 on a $147,400 home equals $1,516.  The projected mil rate of 11.874 on the $126,700 home equals $1,504, a decrease of $12.

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Kenosha Engine Plant underground storage tank work

At Monday’s Public Works committee meeting, the committee voted unanimously to approve the change order for the project regarding the underground storage tank at the Kenosha Engine Plant (KEP), 5500 – 30th Avenue.  Shelly Billingsley, the city’s engineering director, spoke on the issue.  “This is due to mobilization costs and not having access to the site.  The change order is to change the funding for mobility.  We took out the asphalt cap, and are going to enter into a separate contract to pour a concrete cap instead.”  The city approved a contract with New Berlin’s Veit and Co. for $258,000 in August to remove that tank.

The change order approved on Monday moves the timeline for removing the tank.  Work is to begin on or before November 9th, and it is to be completed by December 25th.  The work was originally intended to start in August and be completed by now.  The reason for the delay in getting this work done was due to Veit and Co. and its contractors struggling to get access to the site from the Old Carco Liquidation Trust due to specific requirements needed to get access.

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Sump pump drain resolution deferred for 90 days

An item appeared on both the Storm Water Utility Committee and Public Works Committee meeting agendas earlier this afternoon.  That item had to do with the preliminary report/final resolution for the sump pump drain connections into the storm sewers project.  The area covered is 82nd Street – 62 feet to 805 feet west of 17th Avenue,  17th Avenue – 81st Street to 83rd Street.

Jeff Davison, an attorney representing four property owners, spoke regarding some serious procedural problems.  He stated that he and Matt Knight, deputy city attorney, have worked out a tentative agreement on this issue.  Knight then spoke and said that thirty-day notices need to go out to the property owners regarding the nuisance discharges, then another thirty days needs to be waited for the appeal process.  He called for a minimum of a ninety-day deferral, and both committees approved the deferral unanimously.

Public works committee budget review

The Tuesday night meeting was called to review the 2013 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Infrastructure and other items were reviewed. Mike Lemens, the city’s public works director, opened the meeting with a few introductory remarks. He said that “they are taking an approach similar to last year. They are being cautious with increases. They looked at their needs and where cuts could be made. They came in very close to administration’s target.

Lemens continued, “The CIP has presented some challenges with needs. The funding has increased over the five-year plan. Some areas have gone down a little. The mayor’s goal has been to increase funding on infrastructure needs, street work. Four major projects have been completed. With the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) work, resurfacing has definitely been needed.  It extends the amount of work that can be done. A reduction in street resurfacing equals out our borrowing.”

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Southport Park meeting next week

The city of Kenosha Department of Public Works Park Division will host a public information meeting from 6 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 1st, as part of the process to develop a master plan for Southport Park, including the Southport Beach House.

The meeting will take place at the Oribiletti Center, 6900 – 18th Avenue.  The results from the first round of meetings, held in late September and early October, will be shared.  Concept plans have been developed for public input.

The concept plans will be placed on the city’s website following this meeting at

If you are unable to attend, but would like to submit your input, please contact Shelly Billingsley, P.E., City Engineer, for the city of Kenosha, Department of Public Works, at:  (262) 653-4149, or e-mail her at:

Paving of lawn park areas

The Public Works Committee continues to hear numerous requests from citizens to pave lawn park areas.  On Monday’s agenda, there were three such requests.  The first came from Dan and Frank Esposito for their properties located at 1021 and 1024 – 60th Street, the second came from the First Congregational Church, 5934 Eighth Avenue, and the third came from Karl Davis, 2418 – 26th Avenue.

Frank Esposito appeared in person on the behalf of his son, Dan, and himself.  Frank owns Jewell Motors, and his son owns the chiropractor’s office directly across the street.  Mike Lemens, director of public works, said that concrete is usually allowed for a reason.  Esposito said that concrete was needed for the chiropractic office because patients park on the street, and they need an easy, safe access.

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Holiday to affect some city services

Kenosha has announced the following effects of the Fourth of July on some municipal services:

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33rd Avenue resurfacing project – 52nd Street to 55th Street

A public information meeting was held on Thursday night in the Kenosha Municipal Building for residents in the 11th District.  The meeting had to do with the 33rd Avenue resurfacing project.  Phase I runs from 52nd Street to 55th Street.  Scott Gordon, alderperson of the district, organized the meeting.  Civil engineer, Clement Abongwa, civil engineer from the Department of Public Works, was also present to help answer residents’ questions.  About twenty residents attended.

Information provided by Abongwa:

The plans on display during the public information meeting illustrated the sidewalk , curb, gutter, and driveway approach that will be removed and replaced in the project. The plans also show the limits of the project and the properties that will be impacted by the project.

Tentatively, work is scheduled to start on July 9, 2012, but the contractor plans to start mobilizing next week and may start doing some preliminary work as early as next week.

Property owners will be assessed for replaced damaged sidewalks, except when the sidewalk is damaged by tree roots from trees on the parkway. The homeowners on 32nd and 33rd Avenues will not be assessed for driveway approaches because the city will be changing the grades on the street. However, property owners on 60th Avenue and 27th Avenue will be assessed for replaced damaged driveway approaches.

Washington Pool to open on June 9

Photo by Luz Maria Espinoza via stock.xchng

Swimming pool season opens on Saturday, June 9th, at the Washington Park Pool.  Anderson Pool will not be open this year.  (Click here to read an article about the work being done at Anderson Pool:  Anderson Pool Will Be Closed Next Summer.)

Pool season passes and swimming pool coupons for the 2012 season are now available for purchase at the Public Works Department in the Kenosha Municipal Building located at 625 – 52nd Street, Room 305.  They may be purchased Monday through Friday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

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Marina dredging to be done, but at a much higher cost

The Public Works Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Common Council all gave their unanimous approval to have the marina dredging work done by Shoreline Builders (Pleasant Prairie) in the amount of $381,500.  The city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2012 and 2013 had to be amended to fund the work, though.  The 2013 authorization was moved to 2012 for a net change of $0.  The Public Works Committee also approved the professional services agreement with Ruekert Mielke for construction management of the project.

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Park commissioners approve dredging

At tonight’s Board of Park Commissioners meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved the project work for the dredging of the Kenosha Harbor and the Southport Marina.  The contract was awarded to Shoreline Builders (Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin) in the amount of $381,500, and the professional services agreement contract was awarded to Ruekert Mielke (Waukesha/Kenosha/Madison, Wisconsin) for construction management of the project.  The project has also been referred to the Public Works Committee for approval, and their next meeting will take place on Monday, May 7th.

Cathy Honeyager, assistant city engineer, stated that administration was working to find more money because the bids surpassed allocated funding.  Carol Stancato, finance director, explained that 2013 funding for dredging was being transferred to 2012.

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Reception for retiring alderpersons

Ray Misner, Alderperson for the 13th District

Anthony Nudo, Alderperson for the 11th District

A reception was held after the three city meetings last night for Alderpersons Ray Misner and Anthony Nudo, who will not be continuing on the committees any longer due to the fact that they lost their seats in their respective districts in the election last week.  Misner is the chairman of the Licensing & Permit Committee, a member of the Storm Water Utility, the Technology, and Public Works Committees, and also a member of the Board of Water Commissioners.  Nudo is the chairman of the Storm Water Utility Committee, vice chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners, and a member of the Licensing & Permit and Public Works Committees.

Both were presented with placques, bricks, and goodie bags.  A reception with food and drinks was served after the conclusion of the special Board of Water Commissioners meeting.

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Public Works Committee approves Place de Douai for Harbor Market

This afternoon, the Public Works Committee unanimously approved the use of Place de Douai by Kenosha Common Markets.  The weekly market runs on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm beginning May 19, 2012, through October 13, 2012.  Ray Forgianni, president of the organization, stated that “the market is now too large on Second Avenue.  Last year, we found the lawn area detrimental to the vendors and to the lawn.  We are asking to be allowed to expand to the area between 56th and 55th Streets.”

Alderperson Jan Michalski asked about some complaints that he’s heard about the wind situation at Place de Douai.  Forgianni responded that they will be “putting the more seasoned vendors there.  They are more capable of handling the wind issues.  In July, we will be changing the layout completely.”  Also, he stated that he wanted to clarify that the wind problem comes from the northeast, not the west as has been reported.  “It’s better with the buildings there.  Having buildings on two sides is more effective.”

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Public Works Committee report

At yesterday afternoon’s Public Works Committee meeting, the following items were acted upon:

  • The committee unanimously approved the request for the use of HarborPark by Wisconsin Marathon, LLC, on May 5, 2012.  Johnathan Cain and Dennis DuChene were present and spoke on behalf of the marathon.  Cain stated that they are expecting a sell-out this year; he estimated 4,000 people would be signed up with about 3,600 actually participating in the race.  Last year, there were approximately 1,500 participants.

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Public Works Committee approvals


The Public Works Committee met earlier this evening.  The following agenda items were approved:

  • A request for use of Celebration Place by the Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha on July 27, 28, and 29, 2012, for the 4th Annual Taste of Wisconsin event.  Candy Eisenhauer was present representing the organization.  When asked why they wanted to move their venue, Eisenhauer stated that they felt too constrained at last year’s location.  “Plus, it’s safer, and there’s more parking.  No one uses it much.”  In case of rain, Eisenhauer stated that the parking would have to move from on the grass to on the street.  “People could take the trolley,” she said.  Chairman G. John Ruffolo encouraged her to work with the Public Works staff on a rain plan.  Eisenhauer stated that “they work closely with us.  They are a great bunch of people.”

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Report on three committee meetings

Yesterday afternoon, the Board of Water Commissioners met to approve the following items:

  • The Kenosha sewer service area amendment; and
  • The sump pump inspection program.

Pleasant Prairie requested the modifications to the sewer service area.  One parcel is between Highways Q and CJ, on the west side of U-Line; they are potentially adding a one million square-foot building.  The other parcel is the Stetson piece annexed out of town, in Paris.  The city finally (after a wait of two years) just received a compact letter from Madison which states that we can serve anyone in the city limits in the county as long as we do not exceed the baseline, which is thirty-four and one-half million gallons of water a day.  We are now averaging fourteen million gallons a day.  Therefore, Edward St. Peter, general manager of the Kenosha Water Utility, said that “we have a lot of capacity which can accommodate growth to the west of the city.  This is a good thing for the future development of Kenosha.”

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Public works committee report


    The Midwest Street Machine Car Club was approved for its request to use the city-owned vacant lot (Harbor Park Parcel A) for its car fair on September 1, 2012 (rain date will be September 8, 2012).  Tony Puntillo and John Stort were in attendance at the Public Works Committee tonight and spoke to the committee about their plans for the fair this year.  Committee members discussed ideas for the two in the way of advertising and getting assistance from the city on parking signs, sponsorships, etc.

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SeeClickFix not to be used to report snow issues


Chairman G. John Ruffolo stated at tonight’s Public Works Committee that the system, SeeClickFix is not to be used for snow removal issues, as was stated by Alderperson David Bogdala at the last Common Council meeting.  “This committee,” Ruffolo said, “is the only committee that decides what will and will not be handled through the SeeClickFix system.  Using the system to report snow removal issues would overload the system.”  Its used are currently limited to reporting non-emergency issues, such as graffiti, potholes, and non-working streetlights.  Ruffolo stated that he has already discussed this with Bogdala.

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Kenosha making use of GPS units

The city of Kenosha is taking steps to have all of their snow plows equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) units in time for this winter’s snowfalls.  A presentation was made at tonight’s Public Works Committee meeting.  The Public Works Department will be able to track the whereabouts of the snow plows, their paths, and their speed from the office.  Snow plow drivers will be issued a GPS unit by their supervisor at the beginning of their shift, which will be plugged into hard-wired battery supplies in the snow trucks.  There will be no way drivers will be able to manipulate or tamper with the units while en route.

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Public Works committee meeting re-cap

Photo by David Ritter via stock.xchng

The Public Works Committee met earlier this afternoon.  Here is a run-down of the meeting’s approvals/deferrals:

  • Both requests to pave lawn park two areas on the east side of 39th Avenue were approved unanimously.  These came from Chiappetta’s Shoe Store and Principe Development.
  • The committee voted to accept Project 10-1017, 39th Avenue Reconstruction, which was satisfactorily completed by Payne & Dolan, Inc., in the amount of $1,401,112.51.

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Crackfilling project put on hold for this year; street naming an issue

At last night’s Public Works committee meeting, the crackfilling project appeared as an informational item on the agenda.  Chairman G. John Ruffolo said that it’s getting kind of late in the year to start this work.  Michael Lemens, Public Works acting director, said that last year’s budget hearings was not the time or the place to make an informed decision on this work.  To do the job properly, Lemens said, three of each of the pieces of equipment (routers, etc.) would be needed, in addition to accessory equipment, trailers to haul the supplies, port-a-potty’s, etc.  Totalling up all of this equipment will run over $148,000.

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Meeting Saturday on new Pleasant Prairie roundabout

A view of the roundabout at Highway 165 and 39th Avenue./ Village of Pleasant Prairie photo

The state Department of Transportation will host a public meeting on Saturday, Aug. 6 to review with the public how to travel the new roundabout at Highway 165 and 39th Avenue. The meeting will be held at Pleasant Prairie Village Hall, 9915 – 39th Avenue, between 10 a.m. and noon.

The DOT and their project partners will be on hand to answer questions about navigating the roundabout. Anyone attending the meeting will have the opportunity to drive through the roundabout after the meeting.

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Harborpark sculpture walk artwork approved

At last night’s Public Works committee, the eight sculptures and four alternate sculptures were approved.  Natalie Strohm, arts administrator for Milwaukee County, was present at the meeting to thank the committee for their collaboration with the Arts Fund Committee and the selection panel.  Previously, the  locations for the sculptures were approved; tonight, the actual sculptures were approved.

You can click on the following link to see pictures of the approved artwork:

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June 30 storm update – walk repair

A split tree on the lawn in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse.

At tonight’s Public Works Committee, Michael Lemens, director of engineering, gave an update on the work the city has been doing to clean up after the June 30th storm.  Both the Public Works and Parks Department staff have made major efforts to clean up during the initial two days/first week after the storm.  Outside help was brought in.  The city spent two weeks working overtime in removing grass.  They have been working since then on a daily basis to address tree issues.  Both Jeff Warnock, park superintendent, and John Prijic, street superintendent, were present and gave their input.

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Storm updates


The topic of the June 30th storm update came up at two city meetings on Monday night.  At the Park commissioners meeting, Ron Bursek, retiring director of public works administration, felt the city did a very good job.  Between Jeff Warnock, park superintendent, and Ron, they had crews out by 6:30 am the following day.  The entire city was assessed for damages in one day using four people.  They also made the necessary contacts with contract crews to assist in the clean-up efforts.  Citizens appreciated the quick response.

The parade was a top priority, then the fireworks clean-up downtown.  There were 250 trees down throughout the city, with between 700 and 800 trees damaged.  All of the departments pitched in:  Parks, with the Streets Division, the Waste Division, and Water Utility.  Warnock said that homes were to be finished up by Tuesday.  He encouraged the citizens and alderpersons to “keep looking up,” and to report any weakened trees; another one fell just the other day.  Apparently, a farmer has expressed his interest in the root balls for his cattle to eat.  The city will have the cost of transport, but the commissioners felt that this was a good recycling idea.  Plus, the city can now make its own wood chips!  Engineering continues its review of the sidewalks.  There is still no total cost estimate for the damages to the city.  It was pointed out that FEMA does not cover straight time costs, only overtime.  Workers have been putting in fourteen-hour days all last week and over the weekend.  Some trees need to come down, and some will be re-planted.

Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia had a question about his underground sprinkling system, which was already installed when he purchased his house.  There is an ordinance prohibiting installation of underground sprinklers in parkways; therefore, the city is not responsible for any damage done to these systems.

Alderperson Michael Orth stated that he heard “grumblings” from city residents looking for the county’s help.  Also, the Sheriff’s Department was not seen visibly assisting in the clean-up efforts.  Bursek stated that we have a mutual aid agreement with the city of Racine, but not with our own county.  Alderperson Anthony Kennedy asked if it was a “push or pull system.”  “Did we request help, and they didn’t come, or did we not request the help?”  No one knew the answer to this question. 

Kennedy also raised the idea of having a more aggressive pruning system for the trees, but Bursek stated that that’s very expensive, and it doesn’t help the environment with the carbon dioxide emissions and the retention of water.  Therefore, they felt that idea had limited returns.  “Hopefully, we’ll not see another storm like that in eighty years,” said Bursek. 

At the Public Safety and Welfare Committee meeting later that same evening, chief of police John Morrissey gave an update on the power outage in the Public Safety Building the night of the storm.  Power was out from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm the following night.  Generators were used to run dispatch and operations.  Phones were in operation, but the computers were down.  Morrissey has emergency power outlets and lights in his office.  The operations center and the computer room have emergency power. 

Morrissey says that he has a huge new generator now under his office.  “Did he feel that they were underpowered?”  Morrissey replied in the affirmative.  “A bigger issue,” he felt, “was where we lied on Webco’s priority list.  It was adjusted shortly thereafter,” he said.  Because the main generator kicked in, a fire started.  As a result, they had to rip a wall out.       

Kennedy asked the chief to provide a “critical operations list,” operations which he felt need to be powered 24/7.  “Do we need to rent big truck generators?” he asked.  Morrissey felt that critical needs were met.  The front counter was dark; there were two women sitting in the dark answering phones.  Another critical area was the basement.  The garage doors didn’t open obviously; they had to be opened manually.  It then became a security issue, because they had to station an officer there.  Kennedy merely wanted to make sure that Morrisey had the tools he needed to properly perform his job.