Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 18:09
Fredonia Village President Chuck Lapicola brought his push to put planning for a fire station addition in a new light to trustees at the last Village Board meeting.
Previously, Lapicola asked the Fire Department Modernization Committee to consider more modest improvements to the fire station on South Milwaukee Street.
The committee includes the ranking officers of the Fredonia Fire Department.
“These are ideas I wanted to bring up with the fire department before I brought them to you,” Lapicola told trustees.
A needs assessment completed last year by Strand Associates said it would cost as much as $2.5 million to build a new 13,000-square-foot fire station or $1.8 million to build a 7,500-square-foot addition to the existing building.
Lapicola said a more modest building project could meet the department’s needs and would be easier to sell to the community.
“I would like to see the fire department get an addition that would meet its needs for the next 30 or 40 years,” he said.
To get another perspective on what less costly building options are available, Lapicola said he has contacted former Village President Bill Hamm — a building contractor — to gather input.
Lapicola also reiterated his suggestion that the village approach the Town of Fredonia for feedback on the idea of merging the department with the Waubeka Fire Department, possibly building a joint facility that meets both departments’ needs.
“I know there are a lot of questions out there, and I am not advocating any specific approach. I just wanted to put all the options on the table for future discussion,” he said.
Trustee Don Dohrwardt, who is the only declared candidate for village president in the upcoming spring election, said whatever is done to meet fire department needs must be carefully calculated to see how it would fit in with the village’s debt schedule.
“Looking at the estimate, $2.5 million is a large number and it would take a long time to pay off,” Dohrwardt said.
“That is a good thing, because that is an expense that should be paid by new people who come into the village, not just be a burden for those who are already here.”
Trustee Jill Bertram said nobody should think the village is rushing into a fire station project.
“I would like to see us clear up some big projects first, like Fredonia Avenue and some other road projects,” Bertram said.
“I could see something happening maybe five years down the road.”
No formal vote was taken, but trustees have already expressed a desire that any future fire station project be placed before voters in the form of a referendum.
Dohrwardt said if voters give such a project the green light, it could take two to three years after a referendum to start construction.
“It is not impossible. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, pulling all the pieces together,” he said.