Commission to consider plan for new firehouse

Multi-million-dollar Port station would be built on one of two west-side sites
Ozaukee Press staff

A recommendation to build a new west-side fire station will be presented to the Port Washington Police and Fire Commission during a 6 p.m. meeting Monday, May 20.

The recommendation by the fire station task force calls for a $4 million to $6 million facility to be built on Grand Avenue west of Highway LL.

The task force has recommended  building the firehouse on three to five acres, with its preferred site being the northwest corner of the Grand Avenue and Highway LL intersection — where Casey’s has proposed building a gas station and convenience store — and a second choice being the former Schanen farm on Grand Avenue at Jackson Road.

The commission has been on record for years supporting the construction of a new firehouse west of the railroad tracks, a recommendation driven by the fact the current facility is cramped and doesn’t have adequate facilities for women or paramedics.

Not only do most firefighters live on the city’s west side, commission members said, but if a train were to derail it could cause significant delays in responding to emergency calls.

The city has not moved forward on the matter, prompting Mayor Marty Becker to form the task force this winter.  

The task force recommended building a firehouse that’s 15,000 to 20,000 square feet with five or six drive-through bays for vehicles, eight dorm rooms with locker facilities for men and women, a secure EMS supply area, dive team equipment storage area, offices for the chief and officers, conference and work-out areas and a training room that would double as a community room and fit 100 people with an adjoining kitchen.

That room should have a separate entrance so it could be used by the public or rented out.

The building should be energy efficient with a maintenance-free exterior, and members said the city should look into the idea of installing solar panels to reduce energy costs.

City Administrator Mark Grams estimated the cost of borrowing funds for the fire station would add about $92 annually for 20 years to the city tax bill for a house assessed at $200,000.

The commission is expected to act on the task force recommendation when it meets Monday at the Police Station, 365 N. Wisconsin St.

The matter would then be referred to the Common Council, which Grams said will have to look at whether a satellite fire station or a primary facility, as recommended by the task force, should be built.

There’s no question the department needs more space, he said.

“For an ambulance, I can see it. For another truck or two, I can see it,” Grams said. “But do you build a full-fledged facility, I’m not quite sure.”  


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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