QUEENSBURY — Four years ago, the South Queensbury Fire Company said it would look into building a new fire station at a different location, rather than spending millions to demolish and expand a portion of their old station on Dix Avenue.
Bill St. John, the fire company treasurer, said in 2015 that the company wanted “more time to consider our options,” including a new site for a new station.
On Monday, Town Board member Tony Metivier asked them to consider the parking lot of the Kmart that has been purchased by U-Haul.
“I’m serious,” he said.
The fire company dismissed the idea.
The company had hired an architect to design an expanded station — a project with a preliminary cost of more than $6 million. That’s been cut down to about $4.1 million, but it is still much higher than the estimate four years ago. In 2015, Dan Ryan, an engineer for the fire company, estimated that demolishing and replacing a portion of the existing structure and renovating the rest of the structure would cost about $1.523 million.
At a meeting with the Queensbury Town Board, members denied that they had ever had such a low estimate. That was only for a rehab of the building, said Ron Dufour, chair of the company’s building committee. He said the actual demo and rebuild was then estimated at $3.5 million.
In addition to the idea of building new, other board members asked if they could do the building in phases, reduce some of the renovations or skip renovating the kitchen. Fire company members did not budge.
They said they need another 3,500 square feet and need to renovate the existing 12,600 square feet, giving them a new total building of 16,100 square feet.
“That whole building’s being renovated. We’re doing new offices, everything,” Dufour said.
St. John, the fire company treasurer, added that it’s a rare expense.
“We’re building a 50-year building,” he said.
That seemed to persuade board member Catherine Atherden.
“I think this is acceptable. I’m in favor of doing it,” she said. “It’s once every 50 years.”
But the rest of the board wasn’t enthusiastic about giving the company an additional $139,000 a year for the next 30 years to cover the mortgage and a replacement firetruck.
“I have to live with a 2 percent cap,” said Supervisor John Strough.
He urged the company to spend no more than $3.5 million on a station.
St. John argued that the $4.1 million plan was not unreasonable.
“We’re not looking to get a Taj Mahal,” he said.
He added that the company’s mortgage would be almost as high at $3.5 million. Strough wasn’t impressed.
“It would be $600,000 less,” he said.
Strough told the fire company to focus on new vehicles instead — the company has a 30-year-old firetruck and an 18-year-old rescue truck.
“My priority is for you to keep your apparatus up,” Strough said.
St. John said he needs a rebuilt station first.
“You need the stable,” he said.
Board members have not yet made a decision on the expenditure.