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Fire chief: Gingellville station in disrepair, inadequate for current township needs

'It's way past replacement'

September 15, 2010 - The metal walls are rusting away, the furnaces are in bad shape, the septic system presents a problem every year and the guys can't even drink water from the well, it's so full of iron.

That's the word from Orion Township Fire Chief Jeff Key, who said Fire Station no. 3 is beyond usefulness and facing demolition.

"It's way past replacement," Key said. "The building was built in 1971; it doesn't fit our needs anymore and isn't adequate for functions at the fire station. We've been saving our money toward building a new one for a number of years."

Site plans for a new, larger station are slated for review by the Orion Township Planning Commission at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

The project is expected to cost about $1.7 million, and will come "entirely" from the fire department budget, Key said, noting the figure includes brining in water and sewer, as well as easement acquisition costs.

The new facility, about 8,000 square feet compared to the current building's 4,800 square feet, will provide fire fighters with essentials like locker rooms, kitchen facilities, and meeting and training space.

It will also provide more garage space for working around the vehicles, Key said.

The new building is proposed with two colors of brick and a standing seam metal roof.

According to plans on file with the township, the "redeveloped" fire station no. 3 will sit on approximately 1.59 acres of land located south of Gregory Road, north of Elmy Drive between Baldwin and Sherston roads.

In anticipation of expansion, the township acquired two adjacent residential parcels in recent years.

Work is currently underway to extend water and sewer lines to the site for fire department use. The water main and sanitary sewer will extend across the site

Storm water management improvements are also in the works.

According to the proposal, storm water runoff will be collected in catch basins, routed through an underground pipe system and into detention basins to be constructed south of the fire station on Elmy Drive.

Water will then outlet through underground pipes laid along Elmy Drive and connected to existing 18-inch storm sewer currently running perpendicular to Baldwin Road.

Plans also spell out details of a proposed "45-foot-wide buffer with berm and dense landscaping," including 38 blue spruce trees, between the fire station and adjacent homes to the west and south of the site.

After approval by the planning commission and township board, Key estimated it would take about 45 days to receive and award contractor bids.

"At this point we're not sure if construction will begin late in the season or early next year," he said.

The new station should serve its purpose, Key said, noting at some point -- most likely in the distant future -- he'd like to see a central station located near the current township offices, with fire fighter training facilities and space to store various specialty equipment.

"When the economy turns around we'll see more growth in the township," he said, noting such growth would necessitate growth in the fire department, as well.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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