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Published: Thursday, 1/24/2013

Sylvania Fire Station No. 1 will be turned into new 8,900-square-foot facility

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sylvania Township fire chief Jeff Kowalski presents the proposed blueprints for a new Fire Station No. 1 to the Sylvania City Council Tuesday evening in Sylvania. Sylvania Township fire chief Jeff Kowalski presents the proposed blueprints for a new Fire Station No. 1 to the Sylvania City Council Tuesday evening in Sylvania.
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The walls of the oldest firehouse in Sylvania will soon be coming down.

Bids for construction of a new facility will open Jan. 29. Architect Joe Vetter said he hopes to “have somebody on board” for the project by mid-March, with final construction being completed in early November.

Sylvania Township Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski presented plans for Fire Station No. 1 to Sylvania's City Council tonight, with a small audience of five community members in attendance.

PHOTO GALLERY: Council considers new fire station

Those plans for the new, 8,900-square-foot building include three truck bays, sleeping quarters, kitchen space and a workout room. The current station has four bays and covers both the northern and the western sections of the township and the City of Sylvania.

It is the last of three township fire stations to be replaced as part of a capital campaign when a 1.25-mill operating levy was passed. The new station will go up at the spot of the existing station at 6633 Monroe St.

While the station is under construction, a temporary station will be located at 6676 Brint Rd., on property owned by Lourdes University. At the council meeting, Mayor Craig Stough suggested that the chief alert the surrounding residents about the temporary site as soon as possible.

“We will get a letter out that we want to be good neighbors,” Mr. Kowalski said.

Township administrator John Zeitler previously said the township originally borrowed $8.5 million in bond-issued funds, and has spent about $6.5 million of it, leaving about $1.93 million for construction of the last station. Township officials in the past have said they should be able to keep the project within budget.

The location of the station has created a heated debate from the beginning. Township trustee Kevin Haddad has publicly opposed keeping the station at its existing site on Monroe Street, and still believes the project has major flaws and that the township won't be able to finish the project under the budgeted amount.

“I am totally against building on that site there ... this is ridiculous the way they are moving on. They're going to make a cheap building,” Mr. Haddad said Tuesday night.

While there were a few challenges in design, Mr. Kowalski remained optimistic about the finished product.

“I think it will be a gem for the downtown area,” he said, adding that they are “trying to build the station for the future.” Currently, five firefighters are staffed at the station, but he said the new building will be made to accommodate 10 officers. The facility will also have a firepole, which Mr. Kowalski said is a common question from area students.

City council member Sandy Husman echoed the chief's enthusiasm about the upcoming project, calling the .

“...I think we're all really looking forward to the completed project, of course, but this is a huge step forward,” she said of the bid openings.

In other news, council members set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m., March 4, in council chambers to discuss revisions to the city's sign code. In July, resident Daniel Greenberg filed a complaint in U.S. District court, asserting that Sylvania's sign ordinance violates the First Amendment. As part of the ordinance, yard signs that are posted more than 70 days before an event, such as an election, are prohibited.

Contact Kelly McLendon at kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-206-0356 or on Twitter at @MyTownSylvania.



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