Rob Conley of Robbie Conley Architect, LLC, met with the Mayor and Council on Monday to present the plans for renovations for both Fire Co. 1 located on Center Street and Fire Co. 2 located on Trenton Street.
In June of 2012, Conley and representatives from both fire companies met with the Mayor and Council at Fire Co. 2 to discuss the structural state of the firehouse and to present the governing body with options for bringing the firehouse into compliance with the codes of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Discussed during that meeting was Co. 2's two immediate needs--fitting a new, bigger fire truck into the engine room within the next two years and to replace to code spaces within the firehouse that have to be renovated and/or improved. Additionally, the space needs of Co. 1 were also discussed.
In September 2012, the Mayor and Council authorized a sub-committee to review options for the possible expansion and reconstruction of Firehouses 1 and 2. The sub-committee worked with Conley who presented the Mayor and Council with plans based on their recommendations.
In his presentation to the Mayor and Council, Conley suggested tearing down the old portion of Co. 2, tearing out the back wall of the engine room to fit the new truck, and a new addition that will include a radio room, maintenance area, gear room, meeting room, kitchen area, locker and showers. According to officials, the part of the firehouse being torn down is close to 100 years old. The newest addition was built in 1965 and will remain.
Co. 1's needs include an addition for gear lockers so that firefighters are not donning and doffing their gear in the engine room as trucks are pulling in and out, a radio room and storage garages. Also, their overhead doors need to be replaced. According to officials, Co. 1 was built in 1959.
Conley estimated the total cost for these two projects at approximately $2.4 million. The council will discuss exploring grants with the borough's grants writer. However, even with grants, the money must first be bonded and then the grant money can be put towards paying down the bond.
In addition to the Fire Department projects, Conley is also working to address the needs of the Police Department. Based on Police Chief Frank Papapietro's January report to the Mayor and Council on the failing infrastructure of the Police Department, a committee was appointed to meet with Conley and discuss options.
During the January meeting, Papapietro said, "The current infrastructure is so taxed that it compromises the safety of our officers."
Papapietro informed the council that the infrastructure reached a crisis point during superstorm Sandy when the department was operating without electricity in the dark and police were making their way around headquarters with flashlights.
After Conley completed his presentation, Mayor Ann Subrizi said, "Conditions are such that safety conditions must be addressed," adding that these projects are intended to ensure safe, efficient and quality emergency services to the residents of New Milford for the next 50 to 100 years.
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