SCOTIA -- Building a new fire station and then renovating the existing fire station into new village and Police Department space will cost nearly $12 million and mean an additional $1.75 per $1,000 for village property tax payers, a consultant on the municipal facilities project said on Tuesday.
Plans for the project to replace the century-old existing two-bay fire station were discussed at a public meeting Tuesday night, with about 60 people packing the second-floor meeting room above the fire station. Several people questioned the proposed location in Collins Park, but no one questioning the cost.
The cost estimate is based on the village borrowing $11.4 million at about 4 percent interest for 24 years, and is conservative, said Sean Foran, project manager with Heuber Breuer Construction, the Syracuse firm helping the village develop the project.
"Waiting would mean the cost will be higher," Foran said. He said there aren't many grants available to help the village pay for the work, and federal and state officials will want to know the community is committed before providing any money.
A public vote to approve spending $11.4 million on the project is tentatively scheduled for April 7. If approved by voters, Foran said, construction could start this year. The estimates are about $7.5 million for the fire station, and just under $4.2 million for renovating the existing building.
Members of the citizens' committee, formed in the summer of 2018 to develop plans for the project, and village officials subsequently decided the best way to proceed would be to build a new fire station elsewhere, and renovate the existing building into more modern offices.
The price tag includes construction of a four-bay, 14,800-square-foot fire station as well as renovation of the current building. The Police Department needs upgrades, including the addition of a juvenile interview room and a better storage area for evidence, while the village needs to modernize its second-floor municipal offices and make them handicapped accessible.
Despite the size of the potential tax increase, most questions residents asked at the meeting focused on the potential loss of green space and other impacts on Collins Park; the impact on busy Route 5 traffic; and damage to the character of the adjoining historic Scotia library, which is among the oldest buildings in the village.
“The Collins site is what the committee and the village board and the mayor thought was the best site for the village," Foran said. "Right now, the people who have been working on this believe this is the best site."
In response to concerns about traffic, "we think we can make it work," said Fire Chief Ken Almy.
The other five sites considered are privately owned and would require the village to acquire property.
In response to the questions, Foran said the site plan can be adjusted. "Your comments matter. There will be adjustments the next time we meet," he said toward the end of the meeting.
The citizen's committee recommended the new fire station be built on land in Collins Park. The property is already owned by the village, but taking it out of designated park status will require approval from the state Legislature.
Home rule bills are already filed with the Legislature, and the village hopes they are approved this year. As part of a swap that will probably be needed to win the state's approval, the village is offering its former sewer plant property at the end of Schonowee Avenue for conversion into park land. That land would become the western end of a renovated recreation trail that runs along the Mohawk River for a mile. The village and town of Glenville have received state grants to establish new trails and repair the existing trail.
"All the discussions with the state say this will happen," Foran said.
While village voters defeated a $7.4 million firehouse bond in 2004, Mayor Thomas Gifford said he's hoping for a different outcome this time because the renovations are needed even more now than they were then. "We still need it now more than ever. Our trucks are bigger and heavier," he said.
The current fire station, at Mohawk Avenue and North Ten Broeck Street, is located in a small complex that includes the Village Hall, police station and Village Court, the oldest parts of which date back to 1909.
Another informational meeting will be held March 17. An email has been established at [email protected]