Back in , the approached the Nanuet Civic Association with a proposal for a new firehouse with an estimated cost of $11.9 million. After returning for several meetings and getting public input, Harold Straut, chairman of the Nanuet Fire District, returned Thursday night with site plans.
The current firehouse has several issues that were discussed in an :
- Swamp location
- structural problems
- meeting fire truck laws and improper bay sizes
- insufficient training areas
“We came to this group a year and a half ago with our proposal that we need to build a new fire house. Questions and comments came up (about renovating or rebuilding on the existing Prospect Street location,” said Straut. “However, the feedback we got was to get another piece of property.”
So the fire district searched for a piece of land they could buy and finally found the parcel off of Old Middletown Road behind Jolene Cleaners.
They did come to an agreement to purchase it from Sappah Trust, who owns it.
"We’ve been waiting all summer to close. We haven’t closed yet. There’s an old problem with a mortgage that wasn’t recorded correctly. It’ll be taken care of and we’re hoping to close in the next few weeks.”
Before they can buy the property, they also had to undergo a SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) act, which requires approval from the governmental body to identify and mitigate the significant environmental impacts of the activity it is proposing or permitting, according to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Back in April, Straut gave the civic association an that they had found this 2.1-acre piece of land and that it may cost about $650,000 to purchase the property. He also added that they plan on selling the current building and using the money to help pay for items needed in the new building such as equipment and furniture.
The conceptual phase for the 23,000 sq. ft. building is done. Here’s a quick list of what the new fire house will have:
- Six bays: Three for pumper trucks, one for a ladder truck, one for two transport vehicles back-to-back, one for rehabilitation trailer
- Offices for the fire district, chief, line officers and president.
- Physical fitness area
- Shower and locker rooms
- Will be fully ADA compliant. “This building will have an elevator and all the handicap requirements.”
- Ready Room for members—this room is a tv lounge room. The current fire house has a ready room. “This is going to be paid for by the fire company, not taxpayer money.”
- Full kitchen
- Natural gas generator
- Solar energy—The blue rectangles on top of the roof over the bays are the solar panels. (refer to the photos attached to this article). It will provide enough power to run the firehouse for normal use and possibly be able to sell power back. The payback is 12 – 15 years.
- Area to clean and decontaminate gear
- Storage room
- Large meeting room on the second floor with capacity for 169 people seated and 100 people seated at round tables
The building was designed on the site with two things in mind:
- “It was positioned on the site to get optimal sun for the solar power.”
- “To allow, if down the road … we need to put another expansion and add another bay.”
Large Meeting Room
“People ask why did we make that room so large? There’s a couple of reasons,” said Straut:
- Discussions with the town led to the need for a space large enough to be used as a possible evacuation center during natural disasters like floods and snow storms.
- “Secondly, and this is the part that irks me, sooner or later, fire services of Rockland County are not going to be 100 percent volunteer. We have to realize that. I hope it stays volunteer forever, but reality says that at some point down the road it may be a combination or a fully-paid department. (This large room) would allow us an area in case we needed to convert it to bunk rooms so we have to provide sleeping quarters. The room will be big enough if we need to put walls up in the future.”
One person asked if the fire house’s meeting room could be used as a party rental to bring in extra revenue.
“The building is not designed for that. West Nyack Fire House has a hall that’s specifically designed for things like that. (The new Nanuet Fire House) is really not a big enough building to do that. You have to worry about parties in there, cleaning up, you don’t know who’s in your firehouse. It’s a good idea. If we had more property, we could do it.”
Some of the concerns brought up by the public was the direction the apparatus would exit off the property. Fire trucks would exit on to Old Middletown Road, which several people said was too curved, narrow and busy.
“It’s directly facing Jolene’s on the straightest part of the road. Right now we’re doing an ok job navigating that road,” said Straut. adding that the fire district already contracted out for a traffic study to be done to address all the traffic light needs. The fire district also has an opticom system that allows them to control the traffic lights.
Also, he said that 80 percent of their responses are going to be to the north and that the other 20 percent of responses would put them on Convent Road or going south on Middletown Road.
“The telephone pole on the West side … everybody always comes close to (hitting it). Orange and Rockland is going to relocate that to the east side of the road. It’s going to look wider.”
To the question of why the county won’t widen the road, Straut said that he couldn’t speak as to why, but believes that the high cost is the reason why and that the county is not in a good enough place fiscally to fund a project like that.
Storm water and drainage systems are being designed and an environmental study has been done with results showing that the site is environmentally sound.
The fire district has met concerns from the county highway department by including traffic studies into their plans.
They’ve also met with Clarkstown DEC and NYS DEC and NYS parks recreation and historic preservation. The NYS PRHP said that although the land was an archeological site, it was ok to build on it.
“The schematic design phase is in the process of being worked on,” said Straut. This phase includes details such as type of water closets (urinals/toilets), shower devices, lighting fixtures, etc …
“Vinny Pacella (Commissioner of the Nanuet Fire Department) has been working on many grants. We requested grants to help purchase the property and offset the cost of building it,” said Straut, adding that anyone that knows of available grants should contact the fire house to let them know.
“Once it’s all ready and we get the schematics done, we’ll know how much it’s going to probably cost us. We don’t know, but as soon as we find out, we’re going to have information sessions at the fire house at night and weekends to try to accommodate everyone.”
With this project affecting the fire tax of Nanuet residents, the fire department also at the fire district’s finances last year.
Here's a look at related Nanuet Patch articles: