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Site Eyed for Fire Station

June 8, 2011
Written by: Stephen Williams

Schenectady Gazette Article

The town’s two volunteer fire companies will meet with the Town Board later this month to discuss whether to proceed with plans for a shared downtown fire station on Dunning Street.

Representatives of the Round Lake and Malta Ridge fire companies will meet with the board on June 28 to discuss plans for a new station on town-owned land near the entrance to the Luther Forest housing development.

The fire companies agree on the site, but some immediate neighbors and residents of Luther Forest have come out against the location.

Firefighters want to get the Town Board’s views before taking any further steps, including spending money for design studies.

Fred Sievers, president of the Round Lake Hose Co., said planning for a central Site eyed for fire station hadn’t been a priority until six months ago but became one when the town started a separate study looking at the best future uses of town properties, including the four acres on Dunning Street.

The site is on the boundary between the two fire districts and close to the town center, where another study said better fire protection is needed.

“The position is unanimous that the best site for it is the Dunning Street site,” Sievers said. But he acknowledged there are neighbors opposed.

At a meeting last month, the opponents said they would like the land to remain an undeveloped buffer between their homes and the town center area, and some cited potential safety risks from the additional traffic of firetrucks and firefighters.

A town fire protection master plan in 2009 recommended building a new downtown fire station because the two main fire stations are at the far northern and southern ends of town. The central area is where most recent development has occurred.

Sievers said the two companies have agreed that a shared central station is a good idea.

“There’s an awful lot to be gained both financially and operationally,” Sievers told the Town Board this week.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 885-6705 or swilliams@dailygazette.net.