By Jano Tantongco
The Dix Hills Fire Department has revealed an $8 million plan to renovate its existing headquarters and add a four-bay substation to its 115 E Deer Park Road property.
According to a statement posted to the department’s website, fire officials said its current 58-year-old headquarters does not meet building and electrical codes; is made up of cracked masonry and brick; has plumbing issues; and is too small to safely take in fire and rescue vehicles.
The new substation would be built on the north end of the existing lot, and would readily fit ‘modern-sized” fire vehicles. It would be built from a prefabricated structure that would be assembled on-site. The existing building will be renovated to meet modern standards and would serve administrative purposes of the department, which responds to 2,400 alarms each year.
The Huntington Town Board exempted on June 7 the project from both site plan review and from required variances.
“Over the last five years we have worked closely with residents, community groups, and members to develop this plan,” stated Todd Cohen, chairman of the Dix Hills Board of Fire Commissioners. “We believe it represents the optimal combination of safety, operational efficiency and fiscal responsibility for all.”
Bob Commisso, a commissioner on the board, added, “Given its critical importance to our emergency response in the district’s northern half, we scrutinized every option for modernization. Economics precluded replacing the facility, leaving renovation and repair as our only viable option.”
According to the website, the project will cost $8 million, but taxpayers will not bear any part of the cost. To fund it, fire district officials want to allocate $1.5 million from reserves, and borrow $6.5 million in the form of a municipal bond.
According to plans, renovating the existing building will cost $4 million; building the new substation would cost $3 million; and remaining external site work would cost $1 million.
Meetings at Huntington Town Hall meetings to provide additional details and public hearings are scheduled for the fall. The earliest groundbreaking is projected to be spring or summer 2017.