Roscoe Fire Department eyes Kirchner building
By Jeanne Sager
ROSCOE Their old building just isn’t working for them, but Roscoe fireman have a shot at another old building . . . one that will be new to them.
Commissioners of the Roscoe- Rockland Fire District voted Tuesday night to put out to voters a $1.5 million project that would take firemen out of their cramped quarters on Union Street and put them inside the former home of Kirchner Chevrolet.
The dealership closed its doors a few months ago (although the Jeep/Dodge/Chrysler section is still open next door), and owner Ralph Kirchner presented his building as an option to the fire district, which has gotten two “no” votes from taxpayers on the prospect of building a brand new firehouse.
According to District Chair Pete Passaro, this new option is currying a lot more favor with people in town.
“People are coming up to me saying, ‘That’s the best idea you’ve come up with yet,’” Passaro said.
The plan will entail the district purchasing the former dealership building, and making renovations for a total of $1.25 million.
The original plan to build a new firehouse would have cost $3.25 million. When that was voted down, commissioners trimmed the project to $2.45 million which voters said no to last fall.
This plan is significantly less because the Kirchner building is already in existence, and Passaro said renovations will be relatively minor to make the transformation from car showroom to firehouse.
“It’s not really all that complicated,” he said. “We want to make the doors larger, that kind of thing. But the building’s in great shape.
“We’re going to try to do what [the] Callicoon [Fire Department] did with the [former] Mills [Chevrolet] building, make it look nice,” he added.
The location right in the center of town and right off of Old Route 17 is looked at by firemen as a bonus, making for easier ingress and egress from the site.
Although some residents have expressed concern that the stoplight right in front of the old Kirchner building would slow emergency responders, Passaro said the state can readily offer the firehouse automatic buttons which turn all the lights to red to let the firetrucks out. That’s better than their exit from Union Street, which has limited visibility and no means to stop traffic short of a fireman standing in the roadway directing.
The fire district has $600,000 in grant funding to offset the $1.25 million bond, and a yes from the voters will result in the sale of both the current firehouse and the empty Rockland firehouse to help lessen the burden to the taxpayer.
A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 28, at the Rockland Firehouse at 7 p.m. for residents to ask questions and learn more about the proposal.
The vote will be held on May 12.