Milton’s aim to start building a new fire station by 2016 was put back on track Tuesday after years of stalled plans.
The Milton Joint Fire Committee is a step closer to building a new station after the Milton City Council on Tuesday approved the existing fire station location for development.
The current location at 614 W. Madison Ave. which is jointly owned by the town and city of Milton, is the best option to build a proposed new station, city officials agreed Tuesday.
For five years, the committee has worked to replace the department’s small, aging building, Milton Fire Chief Loren Lippincott said.
Financial issues derailed the committee’s plans, he said.
“One of the frustrations the commission members have had is that this has been in limbo for so long, and we make plans, but we can’t do anything,” Lippincott said.
Now the committee has some assurance with the council’s site approval, which will start the process, Lippincott said.
Working off of a revised timeline from earlier capital improvement plans, Lippincott said demolition of the current station could begin in March 2016.
As the city goes into what Mayor Brett Frazier called “debt reduction mode” in 2015, the fire department will use the year to plan for the new building.
A new station would replace the existing station and the nearby Department of Public Works building, which is used as a “day room” for on-duty firefighters, Lippincott said.
The city’s existing fire station had been on West Madison Avenue since 1976. It was built to be a volunteer station, which doesn’t work well for the current 44-member staff, Lippincott said.
“The building’s in tough shape,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of cracks and settling of the building that has really caused some problems over the years.”
The Milton Fire Department’s territory covers about 90 square miles and includes the city and town of Milton and portions of the towns of Harmony, Johnstown, Lima and Koshkonong.
As the department grows and needs change with the addition of Emergency Medical Services and rescue squads, it’s very important a new station be built to meet those needs, Lippincott said.
“We’ve been struggling for the last 10 years with the building,” he said.
The existing station doesn’t have a bunk room, its training room is too small and the department needs more people in the station, Lippincott said.
As far as location, the existing site was the committee’s top choice after looking at several other locations, Lippincott said.
“I can’t tell you how long we looked,” he said.
The other proposed locations either were not available or the relocation of businesses occupying them never happened, Lippincott said.
Council member Dave Adams, who also is a member of the committee, said Tuesday that the only concern with building a new station in the current location is that it doesn’t conform with the city’s long-range comprehensive plan for the area.
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