Alplaus voters approve $2.7M firehouse renovation
Just 12 percent of eligible residents cast votes
ALPLAUS Voters in Glenville Fire District 2 approved a building referendum Tuesday that gave the green light to a $2.7M addition and renovation project at the Alplaus Firehouse at 309 Alplaus Ave.
About 12 percent of the district’s eligible residents exercised their right to vote, with 144 in favor of the project and 39 against.
The district includes the hamlet of Alplaus, the Woodhaven development, Helen Estates and the Glendale Home.
Although only a small fraction of the population came out to vote, every resident in the district was sent a flier in advance informing them of the opportunity and an email blast was sent out by the town of Glenville. The announcement also appeared on various websites and a legal notice was published. Many residents also received calls from Fire Department members.
For homeowners in the district, the project will result in an estimated $78 tax hike annually for every $100,000 of a home’s assessed value. That figure is based on a 4 percent bond rate over 30 years.
“Our goal was to develop an affordable project that meets modern codes and will serve the district for the next 50-plus years,” said fire Commissioner Mike McHale. “We did not want to come up with a plan where we knew five, 10 years from now, we would have to go back to the voters.”
Ground-breaking is slated to take place at the beginning of July.
The project will address several major concerns raised during a feasibility study conducted by Hueber-Breuer Construction Co., including a lack of space, an outdated electrical system and structural issues.
The structural slab of the original part of the firehouse, built in 1931, sits on top of a cistern once used to fill firetrucks with water.
“That slab is cracked and there’s a support beam that the structural inspection identified as being seriously compromised,” McHale said. “It was a serious enough concern that the person who did the structural inspection advised us to get the truck out of the bay immediately.”
Until the slab can be stabilized, the truck is being stored at the Thomas Corners Firehouse in Glenville.
Other concerns to be remedied during the project include heat loss from deteriorated window frames, water infiltration causing damage and excessive mold, inefficient and often unsafe mechanical systems and limited handicap accessibility.
“Our primary concern is the safety of our firefighters, the safety of residents and also the cost, but the safety of residents and firefighters in this case has to come before the cost,” McHale said. “We worked very hard to keep the cost as low as possible. We considered six different options and this was the cheapest option that gives us a place to park every piece of equipment.”
In August, voters in Glenville’s Fire District 5 approved a $4.36M referendum to reconstruct the Beukendaal Firehouse at 501 Sacandaga Road. The turnout for that vote was just over 10 percent, with 135 voting for the project and 92 voting against it.
District 5 includes nearly all of West Glenville.