Renton fire department considers upgrade options
By Karen Zapf
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The borough property site in Renton soon will be home to a new public works facility.
Members of the Renton Volunteer Fire Department would like the site, about a half-mile away from their current station and located between Renton and Old Leechburg roads, to be home to their operation as well.
“It's our No. 1 choice,” said Anita Maydak, fire company president.
One factor is standing in the way.
“The issue is always money,” Maydak said. “The building will cost about $1.2 million.”
While not abandoning the idea, the department is moving forward with a plan to purchase 6.4 acres of property situated in the shape of a horseshoe around the fire house and social hall off Renton Avenue, Maydak said.
Maydak said the cost estimate is less than $50,000. The closing is expected in a few weeks.
The fire department plans to use the property for additional parking to serve the social hall.
The property also could serve the department for expansion in the future if a move to the borough property site doesn't work out.
The department, which answers more than 300 calls a year, has outgrown its current site that has space for three fire trucks, an office and two restrooms.
There are no shower facilities or other accommodations for a full-time crew to live at the station.
Fire Chief Jason Davis is looking for a new fire station with five truck bays and a training center with classrooms at the borough property site.
Davis has said the site is centrally located to the department's fire district and would cut down on response time.
The borough is exploring the option of building a municipal complex at the borough property site to include borough offices, a police station and a senior community center.
Plum Council last week voted to award a contract not to exceed $109,445 to borough engineer R.F. Mitall and Associates to study the feasibility of building a municipal complex at the site. (See related story on Page 2.)
A new public works facility with offices and garage is expected to be completed in June.
The borough is building a pad at the site for the fire department as well as infrastructure for utilities.
Officials also are exploring options to help the department make a move to the site particularly because a training center would benefit all four companies, Councilman Michael Dell said.
One option would be refinancing the $11 million bond that was used, in part, for the public works facility, Dell said.
The borough's annual debt service payment on the bond is $676,000, the councilman said.
“We will look to see if we can pull out another $1 million and keep the (debt service) payment the same,” Dell said.
“This would be a new fire hall and training facility for all the departments to use.”
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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