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Work begins for $5 million fire stations project

SOUTH PLATTSBURGH Words shifted into action as ground was broken for the long-discussed South Plattsburgh Volunteer Fire Department Fire Stations Project. Officials from the South Plattsburgh Fire District and the fire department performed a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of the new Station 1 building on State Route 22 last Saturday. The site will house one of two buildings that will be built under the fire districts estimated $5 million project. The second will be located on State Route 9 and replace the existing Station 2 building. Wally Day, chairman of the fire districts board of commissioners, said he was pleased to see the project move forward after years of discussion. The process to get to this point has taken roughly four to five years, during which time plans were developed, a negotiation was reached to purchase the Route 22 property and financing through long-term bonds was approved by fire district voters. Ive made remarks at the last three fire banquets that were getting closer to building a fire station, said Day. I began to wonder if it was going to happen or not. I think, finally, the real thing is here. The new Station 1 building is located less than a quarter-mile north of its Route 22 existing building and will measure approximately 15,500 square feet, said Santor. The building will have six truck bays and include space for equipment storage and meeting rooms. The design will also include room for indoor training, allowing firefighters to practice other outdoor activities year-round, he added. As soon as the new facility is complete, the existing Station 1 building which was built in 1959 will be sold. The new Route 9 building will measure approximately 7,800 square feet and be built adjacent to the stations current building, which was built in 1960. The new building will have three truck bays and contain additional space for equipment and meeting rooms. According to Santor, the new buildings will not only bring the departments facilities into the 21st century, but will also serve as a useful tool for firefighter recruitment and retention. Currently, the department has 35 members, a number which fluctuates on a regular basis. Hopefully new buildings will attract new volunteers, because everybody needs new volunteers now, he said. The current buildings have lasted us 50 years. Hopefully, these new buildings will last us 50 plus and meet the needs of the fire district well into the future. Clinton County Legislator Keith M. Defayette, R-Area 5, said new buildings are needed even more now than they were when he served as chief of the department more than 12 years ago. This is a very momentous day for the South Plattsburgh Fire District, said Defayette. The buildings that we had were good back in the 50s, 60s and maybe the 70s, but we quickly outgrew them. We finally, finally got people to understand that if youre going to serve their community as volunteers, you have to have the right equipment, the right buildings. Contractors began working at the Route 22 site earlier this week and are anticipated to begin work at the Route 9 site as early as next week, said Day. The project is expected to be concluded by the end of the year, with both buildings open by early 2009. Its been a long, long time coming and Im certainly excited about it, the members of the fire department are excited about it, and Id like to take a moment to thank the folks and the voters of the fire district that supported us in this project, said Day. Hopefully, the next time we gather together itll be for a dedication ceremony.

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