Dec 05, 2011 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
The firefighters at Manlius Fire Department say it’s cramped quarters at their station on Stickley Drive.
“We’ve outgrown our facility,” said Chief Paul Whorrall. “The stations don’t meet our needs to provide the service.”
The station, nestled in the village of Manlius, is up for inspection by a team of engineers hired by the village to assess the department’s needs. The team will be looking at the department’s office, training, storage, garage and meeting space.
“We need to have the proper facility to be able to do our job safely and effectively,” Whorrall said.
The town of Manlius budget process brought some flak to the Fayetteville Fire Department due to their station’s renovations. The cost of that project increased taxes in the fire protection district, but vote was only open to village residents. The town cited the village’s approved project as a reason the town’s tax levy increased more than 2 percent — at least, for the Fayetteville fire protection district. Should the residents choose to take this project to referendum, village residents will also be the only to vote, though the department’s fire protection district includes much of the town of Manlius, the village of Manlius and part of the town of Pompey. Residents in those portions of Manlius and Pompey would feel the effect of the project on the budget, but are not eligible to vote.
Renovating the stations is not a new concept, as it was scheduled to be brought to voters for a referendum in 2009. Weeks before the village-wide vote, the referendum was canceled as the village cited economic concerns.
But the plan is being resurrected in a renewed effort to rehab the fire department’s two stations — Stickley Drive and a second on Pompey Center Road.
This plan, though not designed, budgeted or finalized, could cost taxpayers less than the original $8 million plan in 2009.
“We’re not building a brand new station, so I would think it would be cheaper,” Whorrall said. “I’m not positive exactly what we want to do, yet. We’ve had some plans, but the plans have changed two or three times.”
What has remained a constant through the plans is a renovation of both stations, an addition at the Pompey Center Road station, and a possible addition at the Stickley Drive location.
“Our greatest need is having proper facilities to be able to do our job safely and efficiently,” Whorrall said.
The current station’s available space and floor plan is causing problems for the department, Whorrall said. The meeting room has been cut in half in order to provide office space for the department’s 15 officers. The room’s maximum capacity is about 35, less than half of the department’s full force of about 80 members. That meeting room doubles as a training center.
Much of the station’s first floor has been taken away for storage, and members have created a mezzanine for boxes of the fire department’s belongings. Below the mezzanine, the firefighters’ lockers and a filling station for the self-contained breathing apparatus packs. The SCBA filling station should have its own room. The station is also missing a “decon” room, which would allow firefighters to access a separate room if their turnout gear is covered in contaminated material from a fire, car accident or other hazardous situation.
“It’s all being driven by condition and need,” Manlius mayor Mark-Paul Serafin said. “The station was built in 1968 and it hasn’t changed much since then. I feel it’s the right time to move forward.”
Both stations are full of equipment — each has seven pieces of apparatus, whether it’s a ladder truck or a medical vehicle. The department has downsized some of their equipment because of the shrinking space — new trucks are smaller and shorter, length and height-wise.
“We’ve been working on this project, even though it seems new, since 2007,” Whorrall said. “The stations are just deteriorating to the point where it is more cost effective to do major renovations than try to piece everything together.”