Press-Republican

March 12, 2013

Tupper Lake reviews new fire/police station

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — TUPPER LAKE — The cost of building a new fire and police station here is coming into focus.

A recent report to the Tupper Lake Emergency Services Building Committee showed how much two versions of the project would cost.

And several sites are under review, according to Sean Foran, project manager with the Syracuse construction firm Hueber-Breuer Construction Inc.

Hueber-Breuer is completing a feasibility study in order to bring the project to a public referendum, most likely in May.

TWO VERSIONS

Foran started researching options for a new fire/police station last year.

“In January 2103, they hired me to do the referendum-phase design, including a voter-participation aspect to bring to village referendum for approval,” he said in a recent interview.

Foran is also the pre-construction manager and construction manager for the new Fire Station in Keene.

Hueber-Breuer completed both a fire-station-only and a fire-and-police-station cost analysis for Tupper Lake.

“Right now, our goal is to design a building that, in five years or 10 years, could also include the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad,” Foran said of a built-in expansion plan.

The initial report puts a 13,000-square-foot, fire-department-only building at $3.4 million.

A 16,000-square-foot, shared-services building comes in at $4.5 million.

LOCATIONS LISTED

In all, 15 potential building sites have been looked at, including an open site on Santa Clara Avenue and another one on Tupper Lake’s Department of Public Works property.

In a recent presentation, Foran indicated that the Santa Clara Avenue location is preferred because of its central position in the village.

The land, some two acres, is for sale by a private landowner and priced at $80,000.

Road access for emergency vehicles from Santa Clara Avenue is better than from the DPW location, which is why preference is tending toward that site.

MAY REFERENDUM

Choosing the location and deciding whether the building would serve shared fire and police services are key issues to be determined in March ahead of a planned public vote in May.

Foran said the decision will be up to Tupper Lake taxpayers.

“The tax implication is between $45 and $50 per $100,000 of assessed property value,” he said. 

But that amount would likely go down, he added.

“We think we are going to be able to defer a portion of this project with grants. Tupper Lake has secured services of a grant writer, and the initial review is fairly promising,” he said.

“The Department of Justice has a grant opportunity out right now for a shared facility. Because of the level of drug-traffic intervention they’re doing there in Tupper Lake, we believe that would position them (emergency services) well for that DOJ grant.

“We will make the decision in the next four weeks if the police are going to be in the facility.”

OUT OF SPACE

Newly hired Police Chief Eric Proulx said a new police station would provide an important improvement for the department.

“Obviously, that would be a great thing for us. We’ve been in the basement of the village offices for years, and we’ve run out of space. There are problems with flooding when it rains in the spring.”

Sharing services from a single building would benefit response time, Foran said in the recent presentation.

In addition, the current police station in the Village Hall basement has no handicapped access. There is also no separate booking or interview area, and the police are out of room for evidence storage.

The next public meeting on the emergency services building is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at Goff Library in Tupper Lake.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com