Janesville75.4°

Edgerton scraps plans to relocate its fire station

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
July 2, 2010
— The Edgerton Fire District board voted Thursday to scrap a proposal to move the district’s fire station to a vacant building in the city’s north side business park.

The move came after the board briefly discussed a study by the fire district that showed the move would increase response times for emergencies by an average of 3.5 minutes throughout the district’s 100-square-mile coverage area.


Fire Chief Brian Demrow told the board that the district determined drive times from volunteer responders’ homes to both the current fire station at 621 N. Main St. and the proposed new location at 111 Interstate Blvd., in the city’s north side business park.


Demrow said crews also compared drive times to both locations from 10 random points throughout the district.


Both studies, he said, showed increased response times.


“I think just knowing that it’s going to take that much longer is enough to know it (the move) is not going to be feasible,” Demrow said.


The board had been eyeing the building at 111 Interstate Blvd. since April, after it went up for sale for $799,000.


Studies paid for by the fire district indicated the building would suit the district’s needs for 50 years, but that buying and retrofitting the property could cost as much as $1 million.


At the time, the district already was in the midst of planning a $550,000 addition that would add parking and garage space to the north side of its current fire station on Main Street.


The district had bought land along Blanchard Street for the project, and had applied for federal stimulus funds that officials said could pay for as much as 75 percent of the work.


The fire district learned last week it was not awarded stimulus funds for the project, Demrow said Thursday.


Still, following its decision to scrap the proposed station move, the board decided Thursday to resume its earlier plans to add to the current fire station. Officials said the district would reapply for stimulus funds for the project.


The board voted unanimously to let out bids for a phase of the project it had approved earlier, which would add extra parking and an exit on the north side of the fire station, as well as street improvements and solar activated blinking lights along Main Street that would alert motorists of emergency vehicles.


Fire district board commissioner Evan Sayre said the work could cost $95,000 to $135,000.


“We do have the funding available (for the project) unless the bids come in ridiculously high,” fire district board chairman David Viney said.


A planned 5,000 square-foot addition to the current fire station would come later, officials said.


After the meeting Thursday, Demrow told the Gazette he plans to be in contact this week with General Engineering Co., Portage, the district’s engineer for project.


Demrow said he was satisfied with both the board’s decision to scrap the proposed station and its decision to move forward with parking work on the existing station.


“The money wasn’t there, and the response time was a big thing. Now we can see it (would be) too much more. We worked hard to get our response times down. To move out there it would just be too much,” he said.



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