On Tuesday night residents learned the deteriorating main firehouse of the will, in fact, need to be torn down and rebuilt at an approximate cost of $6 million - or $39.70 more in taxes per average household.
"And that number is subject to change depending on the bidding process," explained Village Administrator Shawn Cullinane at the well-attended at the .
Cullinane also explained the Village will be borrowing the money, but assured that since Lindenhurst's S&P bond rating is good, the pricetag could even be lower.
The $6 million figure also includes physically moving the to ensure the new LFD headquarters meet current building codes and OSHA requirements, along with the ever-increasing need for fire and rescue services.
Mayor Tom Brennan further noted the Village is also looking into grants to offset costs.
"Six million dollars is the worst-case scenario, and it includes moving the museum," Brennan said. "And by rebuilding we're actually saving about $2 million."
The final tally of the project won't be known until after completing the bidding process, which is expected to happen in early 2013.
They also noted the Village won't be holding a referendum on the issue, citing that this is now a safety issue.
(Take the poll about this issue .)
Arriving at a New Firehouse
More than a year ago, the mayor the formed a consisting of Village officials, fire department representatives, members and civic leaders.
It was tasked with examining the state of the building on South Wellwood Avenue, which suffered much damage from a major fire in 1978.
And at Tuesday night's meeting it was the mayor and committee members who explained the Village's plans to reconstruct the circa-1923 building.
They also assured residents all possibilities were investigated, and found the best way to keep costs down for taxpayers and to maintain the safety of the volunteer firefighters and Village residents is to rebuild in the same location as opposed to renovate or buy new land in another location and either renovate or build new.
"The firehouse is centrally located, and with ambulance calls increasing each year, and the number of calls each year increasing, this just makes sense," said Brennan.
"It wouldn't be fair to move it too far North or too far South," he added.
According to LFD officials, the 243-member volunteer department answered 2,901 calls last year, and is on track to answer roughly 3,000 this year. The majority of calls are rescue calls, and average response time is 6:25 versus the Suffolk County average of 9:30.
The committee's year-plus due diligence involved revisiting two engineers' reports - one saying the building was about to fall down and the other saying it was salvageable -and getting a third architect - Marty Sendlewski, who specializes in firehouses and municpal buildings - to explore the building.
Together with Sendlewski committee members combed the building and the original plans, and opened up walls.
They found rusted-out steel girders that have become so after years of water damage, and a double-insulated roof installed following the 1978 fire that's produced water-logged soft spots.
There's also the brick facia that poses a threat and has required the scaffolding to keep residents safe - and the concrete block used to reconstruct the firehouse in 1979-80 following the fire is now pressing down on the original terracotta blocks, which have also sustained decades of water damage.
Other problems include limited headroom in the bays causing the ambulances to go out the back, and narrow spacing between vehicles that make navigating the firehouse as firefighters prepare to head out on calls very tight and unsafe.
The new plans will expand the footprint of the firehouse, which means the adjacent Museum building will have to be physcially moved to either near the Old Train Depot on South Broadway and Third Street or across the street, according to the mayor.
A new walkway would be constructed on that side of the new firehouse, said Sendlewski.
However, the controlled demolition, said Sendlewski, and rebuilding wouldn't disturb the walkway next to on the South side.
According to Sendlweski, the new building would be eco-friendly and built LEED-compliant, with the heating and cooling systems running completely on geothermal power. The rooftop standby generator would only run on electric, and be able to support all systems in case the building ever loses power.
The mayor noted the Village is also looking into installing like it did at the .
In addition, Sendlewski said the new building would legally be a two-floor building, but would also have room for a mezzanine level.
The first floor includes three expanded bays in the front and a double bay in the back and room for dressing and equipment. The second second floor includes chiefs' and secretary's offices, a kitchen area, a meeting area and a standby room. And the second-floor mezzanine in between them will have room for program space.
"The building wouldn't be much higher than it is now," noted Trustee Mike Lavorata.
Some historical touches will be saved and reused, such as the limestone panels that say, "Lindenhurst Fire Department" on the front of the building. Some of the steel beams in the ceiling might also be able to be saved and reused, said Sendlewski.
The arch of the windows seen in the original building before the 1978 fire will also be brought back into a window above the entryway to the administrative offices in the Northeast corner.
(See also the accompanying PDF files of the rendering of the East elevation of the new building, and of the June 12 presentation, which will also be posted on the Village's website, according to Deputy Mayor Kevin McCaffrey.)
The Next Step
However, before all of this moves forward the mayor said the next step is to finalize the design process beginning at the next committee meeting in the next two weeks.
"The bidding process should then begin in January 2013," Brennan said.
After that officials estimate the new firehouse should be completed in 2014, after an approximately 12- to 14-month build. During that time two ambulances would be moved to the Delaware Avenue firehouse, and the pumper would be moved to Station Six by Firemen's Pavlion.