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Upper Jay VFD receives $1.5 million to build new firehouse

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left stands with local officials as he presents a check for $1,496,676 to go toward the rebuilding of the Upper Jay firehouse.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left stands with local officials as he presents a check for $1,496,676 to go toward the rebuilding of the Upper Jay firehouse. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Members of the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department thought they were attending a press conference on the creation of a NY Rising committee to oversee work in the Jay and Keene area.

That was before Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave them the news they had been waiting over two years to hear, at the end of his Sept. 4 press conference at the Jay Community Center.

“The Upper Jay Fire Department is about $1.5 million short of their goal to rebuild the firehouse and they have been looking hard for the additional funding,” Cuomo said. “The state wants to be helpful in rebuilding the Upper Jay firehouse so, when we leave here today, Upper Jay will no longer be $1.5 million short.”

“We are very excited,” Upper Jay VFD Commissioner Chris Garrow said. “The whole department fought hard as a group to get to this point and this funding is a huge relief for us.”

The total cost of the new fire station project is $2,783,441, which includes the purchase of new land, demolition of the old facility and construction of the new building. The town of Jay was able to secure $1,286,765 to pay for the project with funding from insurance, municipal bonding, funds raised in the community and FEMA. To fill the remaining gap of $1,496,676, Essex County applied to the state for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

“The department has struggled for two years and this has been a trying time for them as they recover,” Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas said. “Without the help of Gov. Cuomo, I do not know what else we could have done.”

Along with the state aid that went toward the Keene firehouse, Cuomo said that the state has shown its commitment to helping Essex County and the North Country recover from Tropical Storm Irene.

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