Thursday, February 20, 2003

Delhi firehouse to be ready by spring

By Angela T. Koenig
Enquirer contributor

DELHI TOWNSHIP - A construction snag has held up completion of the township's new fire department headquarters at 961 Neeb Road, but officials say the work will be done this spring.

"At this point, the project is still under budget," said Jeff Agricola, township assistant highways superintendent, who is overseeing the $4.49 million project.

The 32,000-square-foot building was scheduled for completion last July, but work stopped when a contractor defaulted on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Agricola said. The township had to call in the contractor's $521,600 bond and hire a replacement.

The new completion date is April 1, he said.

"It's certainly better to have the project take a little longer than cost a whole lot more," Township Administrator Joe Morency said of the township's decision to pursue the bond through time-consuming legal avenues, rather than find an immediate replacement contractor to keep the project on schedule.

Even with the nine-month delay, "we know what our allowances have been - and we're still under budget," Morency said.

The building is under roof, with some interior finish work done.

"Everybody's anxious. We'd like to be in there," Fire Chief Mike Edwards said.

The building will house the fire department's administrative offices and the zoning department offices.

It will also have nine bays for fire and rescue vehicles, as well as living quarters to accommodate 10 firefighters, the chief said.

The department is now sharing space in the township administrative offices, and crews are living in a temporary trailer.

The township has 23 full-time and about 60 part-time firefighters/paramedics who operate at the site and at two other fire stations.

The new building is being financed by tax increment financing - tax revenue generated by development that is set aside for infrastructure work.

"This funding mechanism gave us the ability to build a building that should meet the needs of the fire department for the next 25 years," the chief said.

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