Glenville public safety center planned

Five fire companies and two police departments could use facility
Firefighter training.
Firefighter training.

GLENVILLE — The town is moving forward with plans to build an emergency training facility for its firefighters and Police Department.

If built, the facility proposed for Route 5, just west of Vley Road, would mark the first time Glenville’s emergency responders have had their own training center.

The Town Board will vote Wednesday on a resolution to support construction of the Greater Glenville Public Safety Training Center. It would include a classroom building, an emergency vehicle operations course, and a burn practice area, as well as a police training firing range on part of the former town landfill nearby.

Later, the town could develop a full fire training center, where firefighters could simulate structure fire rescues, interior fire attacks and other firefighting scenarios.

The idea has been discussed for that location for more than 20 years. Talk intensified in the fall, because some firefighters felt they got short shrift after the state awarded a $1.5 million grant for police station upgrades to the Glenville Police Department.

A training center became the long-term goal when an 11.6-acre wooded site was donated to the town by the state Department of Transportation in the 1990s, after construction of the nearby I-890 bridge over the Mohawk River.

“There is definitely demand there,” said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “Right now, the firefighters have to train catch as catch can. They go to southern Saratoga County for fire training. They’re grateful for that, but they have to work around other people’s schedules.”

The town has five different fire companies: the Scotia Fire Department and the Alplaus, East Glenville, Beukendaal and West Glenville volunteer companies.

Koetzle said the first phase of construction will cost about $277,000, with a state grant arranged by state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, covering $127,000 of that. Koetzle said the town will pay the remaining $150,000 up front, with the expectation that users will either pay fees to use it, or Scotia and the fire companies will agree to reimburse the town for part of its capital costs.

Koetzle said he hopes to see ground broken this summer, and the facility running by late fall or early spring.

The police firing range, on part of the town’s 73-acre former landfill on Barhydt Road, could also be built this year.

Glenville Police Chief Steve Janik said the training range is the most important part of the project for his officers, but they would also benefit from the emergency vehicle operation course, where high-speed maneuvering and braking could be practiced.

“Our only mandatory training is firearms twice a year,” Janik said. “Right now, we use the Glenville Fish & Game Club, but it’s a private club, and we have to get permission to use it. They’ve been gracious, but it’s not always available. Our own range is a luxury we have never had before.”

Janik noted that places to do emergency driving training have also become harder to arrange, with business expansions at the Schenectady County Airport. That facility used to let a runway be used for vehicle training.

Koetzle said a public safety committee made up of representatives of the various fire companies and police departments would handle day-to-day management of the facility.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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