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Published: Thursday, 1/6/2005

Bedford Township: Third fire station?

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A former golf course clubhouse, left, and barn are being used as a meeting center and rescue-department garage by the township. A former golf course clubhouse, left, and barn are being used as a meeting center and rescue-department garage by the township.
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TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township could have its third fire station under construction by the end of this year if newly-elected township board members decide to build it, the man designing the new station said.

Monroe-based architect John Kohler said last week that he hopes to deliver a preliminary design for the Lewis Avenue station - and an accompanying report about the needs of other facilities in Temperance and Lambertville within a few weeks.

"We hope to get it to the board by the end of January," Mr. Kohler said.

"We've been working on it with [township officials], and we're about that far away from being done."

Mr. Kohler is being paid $30,000 for his study and preliminary design.

The station, which would be built on what had mostly been the parking lot of the former Firecreek Golf Course, would be an elongated two-bay drive-through design that could eventually house up to four rescue and fire vehicles.

It also would be built to one day accommodate a small contingent of permanent full-time firefighters, Bedford Township Fire Chief John Bofia said.

Bedford Township officials spent $300,000 in early 2003 to purchase a 5.6-acre piece of the former Firecreek Golf Course.

The course's former clubhouse was converted into a command, meeting, communications, and training center for the fire department, while the former barn has been home to one of the department's rescue units for the last year.

A new Station 56, as it will be called, would be paid for from the proceeds of the 1-mill fire protection levy township voters have paid for years, and most recently renewed in 2003.

The station's cost is expected to be between $1 million and $1.5 million, although one of Mr. Kohler's tasks is to develop a more accurate cost estimate.Mr. Kohler said last week that once his design is delivered and if it is approved, the township could conceivably begin construction in as little as six months, and potentially have the station fully operating within a year.

Some preliminary administrative approvals have already been received, but some of those have already expired and will have to be renewed, the architect said.

Chief Bofia said he does not yet know if the new township board is as committed to having a third station as the previous board seemed to be, but they will get an opportunity to decide whether it remains a good idea in the coming months."Right now, we've developed a [township-wide] standard of coverage whereby, on a rescue call, we're going to be there in six-and-a-quarter minutes or less 80 percent of the time," with firefighters responding directly to the scene, the chief explained.

Fire calls require extra time because firefighters must respond with necessary equipment from their station houses.

Chief Bofia said that he has no doubt that the new station house - if township leaders opt to proceed with construction - is in the right spot given the long-term needs of the township.

Rescue response times to the southeastern quadrant of the township "improved dramatically" after volunteer firefighters began responding to calls from the former golf course's barn last year, he said, a trend he believes would continue if and when a new station is built.



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