The new 26,000 square-foot one-floor station for the Manlius Fire Department recently opened on the corner of Enders and Cazenovia Road in the town of Manlius. (Hayleigh Gowans)
By Hayleigh Gowans
Last week, the Manlius Fire & EMS celebrated a milestone — after years of work, the new $10.2 million station has opened on the corner of Enders Road and Cazenovia Road in Manlius.
On Friday, Oct. 13, the department held a procession of its fleet, lead by a 1936 antique fire truck, to officially move to the new 26,000 square foot one-level fire station. On Oct. 14, a private celebration was held for the dedication of the new fire station bringing local residents and dignitaries to see the new station.
“We’re finally here; it’s been a long time,” said Manlius Mayor Paul Whorrall, who is also a former chief of the Manlius FD.
The new station includes a front lobby with a history room and memorabilia, a community room, a conference room, a fire control station, emergency training areas, clerical offices, bunks which can accommodate 12 to 14 firefighters overnight and a day room with a kitchen and tv area.
The station was built to replace the two aging stations on Pompey Hill Road and Stickley Drive, which were in need of many repairs and updates to bring it up to standards.
For the past decade, Whorrall said plans to build a new station have been in the works and the current fire station was brought to a public vote thanks to the efforts of a committee who researched the best options for the project. Many different locations were considered, but the committee chose the location on the corner of Enders and Cazenovia roads in the town of Manlius due to it being near the center of the fire district coverage area, which covers all of the village of Manlius plus parts of the towns of Pompey and Manlius.
Citizens in the village of Manlius voted by a small margin in March 2015 to approve a $10.8 million bond resolution to construct a new fire station with an official vote of 266 to 243. In September 2016, village trustees voted to submit serial bonds in the amount of $10.2 million, about $500,000 less than the referendum bond amount due to a decrease in the expected construction amount, which was $9.8 million.
The Manlius Fire Department has been around for more than two centuries, said David Hasse, president of the Manlius Volunteer Fire Company. One of the first stations was located in a horse barn off of Seneca Street, and all of the equipment was horse or hand-powered. In the 1940, the fire department took up residence in the current municipal building on Arkie Albanese Drive.
As the department grew, there was a need for a freestanding station that could fit larger equipment and in 1968 the station at Stickley Drive was opened. To accommodate the firefighters who lived near the southern end of the district and to decrease their time to get to an emergency, Station 2 was opened on Pompey Hill Road in 1987. Now, the department has 11 career firefighters and about 80 volunteer members.
At the Oct. 14 event, several leaders of the Manlius FD addressed the comments they recently had seen online that were critical of the new station. Chief Brad Pinsky said the new station will bring together the two stations and will allow more frequent training and education. The facilities will also serve as a way to attract and retain more volunteer members.
“It’s about the people,” said Captain Adam Feck. “This fire station wasn’t built for the firefighters, it was built for the people we serve. Having a station in a central location will help us have a more rapid response, which is crucial for any emergency.”
Feck also pointed out that the community room will be available for residents and community organizations to rent for certain occasions.
Whorrall said now that the fire department has moved into the new station, the village board will likely vote to put the old two stations on the market. Several interested buyers have been tracking the status of the new station so hopefully the properties will get purchased in a short period of time, said Whorrall.
Village residents can expect to start seeing the tax impact during the next budget season, Whorrall said, though he is not sure how much that impact may be but at the time of the referendum vote the tax rate increase was expected to be between $.32 per $1,000 assessed value and $.48 per $1,000 assessed value over 30 years.
For more information about the Manlius Fire Department, go to manliusfire.com.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features.
I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.