Maria Kacik | The Gazette
BRUNSWICK â€” Fire Chief Jim Baird is keeping his fingers crossed the city will get some federal stimulus funding for a new fire station. But he admits that getting money is going to be a long shot.
â€œBut we would be remiss if we didnâ€™t go for this,â€ he said.
Baird said $210 million of federal stimulus dollars were set aside for fire station construction or remodeling projects throughout the country. He said the government expects 5,000 to 10,000 applications for that money, amounting to billions of dollars in requests.
The city is requesting $3.5 million to $3.9 million.
To improve its chances of securing that funding, the city has promised to contribute up to $1 million for the project.
â€œIf you kick in money, it increases the chances that youâ€™ll get the funding,â€ Baird said. â€œIt shows the grant people weâ€™re serious and, weâ€™ve made efforts to work for ourselves.â€
City Council made a motion Monday to contribute $500,000 for voluntary matching funding for the project. Also included in the motion was the promise of $250,000 for unfunded portions of the project â€” such as technology installation and station furnishings â€” and $250,000 for the unfunded overruns in the project.
The $1 million would come from a fire station improvement fund, which is money set aside for capital improvements for the fire department. Baird said no money raised from this yearâ€™s 0.5-percent income tax increase for safety services would be put toward a new station.
If the city does not receive the grant for the project it wonâ€™t be committed to contribute any money toward a new station.
If given the money, the new fire station would be built on North Carpenter Road and replace the fire station at North Carpenter and Grafton roads.
Baird said the city already has blueprints for the station. They were drawn up in 2007 when the city had an income tax on the ballot that would have set aside money for a new fire station. Thatâ€™s when the city also purchased land for the project on the east side of North Carpenter, a quarter-mile north of Grafton.
The 2007 income tax failed and the city didnâ€™t proceed with plans for the new station.
Baird said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will administer the stimulus funds and will be awarding them based on need.
â€œBasically you go through a list of criteria the committee has established and you get points on your application based on that,â€ he said.
He said he expects the city to be considered above average need for a new fire station. Baird said there are safety concerns in the current station, such as cracked ramps, slippery bay floors and asbestos-wrapped pipes.
Also the station â€” which was constructed in 1980 â€” doesnâ€™t comply with some National Fire Protection Association codes, such as having no gender specific locker rooms or sleeping facilities.
â€œThis is where Brunswick would really lack,â€ Baird said.
The application for the money is due July 10. Baird said the city should hear if it made it through the first phase of the application process within 90 days.
Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.