Bangor council to consider fire station funding

Posted Sept. 17, 2008, at 10:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:17 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City councilors are being asked to authorize another $900,000 in funding for a new firehouse on Griffin Road.

City councilors in 2005 authorized the issuance of up to $1.5 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the new fire station, which will replace the existing Station 6 at the intersection of Griffin Road and Kenduskeag Avenue.

Since then, however, a combination of cost increases and revisions to the plans has in-creased the project’s bottom line to $2.4 million, Finance Director Debbie Cyr pointed out in a background memo to the council’s finance commit-tee.

The additional $900,000 would cover the difference, City Manager Edward Barrett said Wednesday.

The project’s updated bottom line was reviewed earlier this week by members of the City Council’s finance committee, who voted to send the request for additional funding to the full council for consideration.

The increase will undergo a first reading during the council’s next regular meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22. A second reading and a decision will come next month.

Construction of the new Station 6, which will be built in a slightly different location, is expected to begin later this year, Fire Chief Jeff Cammack said last month.

The current station sits at the corner of Griffin Road and Kenduskeag Avenue. Its successor will sit on the opposite side of Griffin Road, on a 41-acre parcel the city acquired 10 years ago for potential city uses, including a school.

When initial plans for the new station were being dis-cussed in 2005, the city had planned to rebuild on the same site and reuse parts of the existing structure, according to city documents related to the project. Wetland restrictions, how-ever, prompted a search for an alternative site, which resulted in the project’s move across the street.

According to Cyr, some of the key reasons for the cost in-crease are:

ä The need to relocate to a new site, which will require a sewer line extension of almost 800 feet.

ä The need to increase the station’s size from 5,895 square feet to 8,878 square feet to accommodate an aerial truck, as recommended by the Insurance Services Office in New Jersey, to keep pace with increased development in the area served by the station.

ä A nearly 30 percent hike in construction costs since 2005.

Proposed is a one-story building, with three garage bays facing Griffin Road for fire vehicles and equipment. The building also will have bunk rooms for six crew members, an office, training room, weight room and kitchen.

From the day firefighters and emergency medical personnel moved in 21 years ago, Station 6 has been too small and badly configured. Its roof leaks, it is poorly insulated and ventilated, lacks adequate space for the city’s aerial truck, and has ineffective office space and an aging boiler.

The station also is inefficient in terms of energy consumption, Cammack said during a planning board meeting earlier this summer.

Though Station 6 is about half the size of Station 5 on Hogan Road, it consumes roughly twice the energy. Plans for the new Station 6 call for heating it with natural gas, he said.

One of three fire stations in Bangor, Station 6 has the largest coverage area, according to the station’s Web site.

It covers the northern part of the city, which includes Bangor International Airport, two shopping malls, several housing developments for the elderly and five mobile home parks.

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