Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left stands with local officials as he presents a check for $1,496,676 to go toward the rebuilding of the Upper Jay firehouse.
Members of the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department thought they were attending a press conference on the creation of a NY Rising committee to oversee work in the Jay and Keene area.
That was before Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave them the news they had been waiting over two years to hear, at the end of his Sept. 4 press conference at the Jay Community Center.
“The Upper Jay Fire Department is about $1.5 million short of their goal to rebuild the firehouse and they have been looking hard for the additional funding,” Cuomo said. “The state wants to be helpful in rebuilding the Upper Jay firehouse so, when we leave here today, Upper Jay will no longer be $1.5 million short.”
“We are very excited,” Upper Jay VFD Commissioner Chris Garrow said. “The whole department fought hard as a group to get to this point and this funding is a huge relief for us.”
The total cost of the new fire station project is $2,783,441, which includes the purchase of new land, demolition of the old facility and construction of the new building. The town of Jay was able to secure $1,286,765 to pay for the project with funding from insurance, municipal bonding, funds raised in the community and FEMA. To fill the remaining gap of $1,496,676, Essex County applied to the state for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“The department has struggled for two years and this has been a trying time for them as they recover,” Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas said. “Without the help of Gov. Cuomo, I do not know what else we could have done.”
Along with the state aid that went toward the Keene firehouse, Cuomo said that the state has shown its commitment to helping Essex County and the North Country recover from Tropical Storm Irene.
“This is just another snapshot in the relationship that we have developed,” Cuomo said. “We are going to help, we are going to build back, we are going to build back better and we are going to do it together.”
With full funding now in hand, Garrow, who has also been involved with many of the Jay reconstruction projects as the DPW Superintendent, said the project will start moving forward.
“We are going to have a pre-construction meeting around Sept. 13, and I have been told that we can get into the ground on Sept. 16,” Garrow said. “We are looking to get the building closed in and work all through the winter and to be finished with everything in the spring.”
The Upper Jay firehouse will be relocated next to the town highway department. Its previous home was flooded out when Tropical Storm Irene hit the North Country Aug. 28, 2011.