Task force looking into new fire station for Delavan

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Kayla Bunge
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
— A new fire station has been Chief Neill Flood’s wish for more than 10 years—and it’s a wish that still could come true if the work of a task force is any indication.

The Fire Station Task Force has been meeting monthly since October to look into the feasibility of building a new facility. To date, the seven-member group has visited three relatively new fire stations in the area and talked to two engineering firms.

Flood said the “brain-picking sessions” have given the task force ideas for what a new fire station in Delavan might look like and what the community could expect from it.

“It’s a necessity that has to be addressed,” said Samuel Riggs, who sits on the task force. “It needs to be done for the betterment of the city.”

Flood started his campaign for a new fire station more than a decade ago, but it kept getting put on the back burner until recently.

A November 2005 study by Vandewalle & Associates of Madison indicated the city needs a new fire station because the city is growing rapidly and growth is expected to continue. And simply remodeling the current facility, the Brad Liddle Safety Building on South Seventh Street, won’t adequately serve the fire department’s needs, according to the study.

“To call it a safety building is an oxymoron,” Riggs said. “It would cost thousands and thousands (of dollars) to rehab it. It’s just been Band-Aided together.”

The fire department moved into its current facility in 1982.

A new fire station is estimated to cost $2.4 million.

The city began imposing impact fees on new construction about two years ago and, through January, has collected about $15,000, City Administrator Joe Salitros said.

The study suggested building a new fire station in the same neighborhood as the existing station, and Flood said the task force is considering that option. Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis is planning to meet with the owner of Hunter’s Auto Service, 235 S. Seventh St., to discuss the possibility of buying that property for a new station.

Flood said the need for a new fire station is “definite,” as the fire department simply has “outgrown” its current facility.

“The facility just isn’t conducive to a properly run fire department,” he said. “We’re not in the year 2000 with the building we’re in.”

And it’s not getting any better.

“The day is coming when we’ll need a satellite station,” Flood said. “We’ll be lucky if we get a main station first.”

Last updated: 4:50 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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