Scotia reopens search for fire station site; Collins Park corner idea dropped

Approval for previous selection would take too long

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCOTIA — The village is going back to scratch in its search for a location for a new fire station, dropping the idea of using village parkland on Mohawk Avenue.

While the idea of using a corner of Collins Park for the new station has drawn significant opposition within the village, Mayor Thomas Gifford said a bigger obstacle was that it required approval from the state Legislature and that wasn’t likely before next year, at the earliest.

Gifford said the goal now is to sort through about a dozen potential locations on commercially zoned land in the next month or so, make a decision, and move forward with a required public referendum in mid-September, so work could start next spring.

“I want it to be this fall so we can get going eartly next year, and it’s likely to be cheaper for both bonding and construction rates,” Gifford said. “But the bottom line is we really need it now.”

The village is looking to replace its Mohawk Avenue fire station, which was built in 1908 and has only two small bays. The station is shared with the police station and village offices. The plan is to move the station elsewhere, and renovate the existing building into expanded and modernized space for police and village office use.

The new station and office renovation between them were estimated to cost nearly $12 million, but that budget assumed using the land in the park, which wouldn’t have cost the village anything. Now, the village will need to buy property, though it hopes to get something for less than $500,000.

“We’ve changed the focus so we’re now looking at commercial properties, and we’ll try to get the one that works best and has the least impact on village finances, but it will certainly cost more,” Gifford said. “I’ve already got a list of 12 places.”

In a letter to village residents last weekend, Gifford said the village is also reactivating the citizen committee that helped it review sites earlier, before the Collins Park site was selected. 

“For the village, the most important thing is to get this project done and be able to continue to provide high quality services to the village and ensure the public safety for the next one hundred years,” the mayor wrote in the letter.

Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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