New fire station to be built

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Applause echoed through the City Center Monday as Ironton's firefighters celebrated the final step needed before construction of a new fire station can begin.

"(A new station) is something we needed desperately. I think now we can celebrate just a little," Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon said. "We are going to have to move and it is going to be uncomfortable for a little while, but it will be well worth it."

After more than 4 years of working toward replacing the 90-year-old station, the Ironton City Council authorized Mayor Bob Cleary to award the construction contracts for the $1.9 million project.

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"The people have been very much in favor of this project," Cleary said. "The time is now."

Construction of the 10,600-square-foot building is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. 16 and will take about a year, he said.

Despite progress made in recent weeks, city officials had been hesitant to get too excited until the ordinances passed. However, everyone was excited Monday and congratulations were given all around.

"I want to extend thanks to the citizens, council, the mayor and the original fire committee because they all worked to make this happen," Runyon said.

An official groundbreaking ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 11.

The new one-story building will be built on Fourth Street at the same location as the current structure. The new station will accommodate four vehicles and includes living space, offices and a three-story training tower.

Some of the firefighters will incorporate the fire pole from the old station into the mezzanine connected to the training tower for sentimental reasons.

"We have got to save something," Runyon said.

To help pay for the project, council also approved the debated ordinance that will increase the fire safety fee three times during a 30-year period. After some different options were discussed in a special meeting last week, all council members voted for the scheduled increases that could still be changed later.

Currently, the fire fee costs citizens $4

a month per residence. To account for increased costs for manpower, equipment and health care, the monthly fee will be increased by 75 cents in 2010, 85 cents in 2020 and $1.05 per month in 2030. Businesses will see an increase of 15 cents per 1,000 gallons in 2010 and 2020 and a 20-cent increase in 2030.

Financing from the project comes from more than $700,000 in Community Development Block Grants and Revolving Loan Funds and a $1.3 million bond that will be repaid by the fire fee.

For the next year, the fire department will make the Second Street side of the municipal garage its temporary home. Runyon said they are ready to start moving out as soon as the trailer is on-site and set up on Dec. 2.

"We knew a temporary station was going to be necessary," Runyon said. "The best site was the one we were sitting on."

Working without a permanent base should not be a problem because the crew and trucks are still centrally located and accessible, he said.

In addition to selling bricks from the old fire station, the city will host an auction that will include memorabilia from the station and also be "a major house cleaning of the whole city," Cleary said.

The auction is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 14 after public notice is given. Helmets, old fire gear, furniture, computers and a few vehicles will be among the items up for auction.

All contractors accepted for the construction were the lowest bidders and Cole & Russell Architects, Inc., of Cincinnati, recommended them.

Portco, Inc. of Portsmouth, was awarded the general construction contract for $1,132, 647.

BB&E, Inc. was awarded the plumbing contract for $100,400.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning contract was awarded to General Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. of Flatwoods, Ky. for $49,690.

Jordan-Smith Electric Co. Inc. of Huntington, W.Va., was awarded the $139,583 contract for electrical work.

A contract for fire protection was awarded to Brewer & Co. of W. Va., Inc. of Charleston, W.Va., for $39,900.

The contract with the architects, Cole & Russell, was amended by $25,000 for construction administration services.