The AuSable Forks Fire District is asking voters to approve a $2.41 million bond to expand their fire station. A vote is scheduled for April 25 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Photo by Pete DeMola
AU SABLE FORKS — One down, one to go.
The AuSable Forks Fire District has completed the first phase of a project to renovate their fire station on School Lane.
Voters in 2015 approved accepting $450,000 in grant funds to repair their roof, electrical system and to install a new heating system, which improved the building’s energy efficiency.
While the first phase carried no taxpayer impact, the department is now asking voters to approve the second component: A $2.41 million bond paid over 25 years to construct a 3,000 square foot, four bay garage addition.
A referendum vote is scheduled for April 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the fire station.
The cost to district residents will be about $82 per year for the average homeowner, or $6.83 per month.
If approved, the capital project will provide space for the department’s trucks and their equipment.
Over the years, the size of the fleet has grown from five in 1973 to eight today.
The trucks themselves are also bigger. As a result, the aisle space between the vehicles is more narrow, resulting in dings, dents and other damage to the bays and vehicles.
“This is the main part of the project that is so desperately needed because the current vehicle fleet is crammed into the current 8,300 square foot fire station and it is a dangerous situation for firefighters responding to calls and fires in the community,” said Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners Louis Garso.
The project will also re-purpose the third apparatus bay to include some alterations to build a new radio room, standby room, as well as additional upgrades to electrical equipment.
The current main disconnect, Garso said, is located in the basement and subjected to flooding in the past — a dangerous situation.
The community room and kitchen will also see plumbing and electrical improvements, upgrades the department said will aid in disaster relief efforts when they work with the Town of Jay’s Red Cross Community Shelter, located in the nearby government center.
The $2.41 million cost estimate includes construction, engineering and other costs.
“We will also continue to seek grant funding where available to help offset the cost,” Garso said.
If approved, the project will be fully designed this year, go out to bid next winter, and built next year with a late-2018 completion date.
The building, constructed in 1961 for use as a school, was converted to the fire station in 1973.
“This is not a wish list,” Garso said. “But it is a blue collar fire station project, only what we need and nothing more. This is not plan A or B, it is actually plan H!
“We’re there for our community during disasters and fires now I would say this is our time of need and we’re asking our community to be there for us by voting yes,” he said.
A proposed third phase has been scrapped.
“This will complete the entire project for us,” said Garso.