Sound the Alarm…, New Fire Stations’ Costs Increase by $1,400,000

Several years ago, Tarrytown Village Trustees were asked to consider building a two bay station that would house two fire companies, "Consolidated" and "Washington." It was to be built on Route 119 just up the hill from South Broadway near the eastern entrance of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

That decision changed direction when another suggestion was made to current Village Trustees that two stations in different locations could built for a price that would be $700,000 cheaper than the original idea for the single station. One new station would be at Meadow Street while another would be at the original station site on Rt. 119, both to be built in reduced formats. During all of this time, many residents of the south end were continuously expressing their concerns about a permanent location in the Meadow Street area.

The latest wrinkle in the process came when various contractors submitted their bids this year that revealed the new total for construction had, over the ensuing two-year period, moved from the original estimate of $3.7 million to $5.1 million. A meeting was convened on October 11 that included project architect Sean McCarthy and project construction manager Edward Napoleon. Both men were asked for an opinion as to how the new total could be cut back to a more manageable number. The initial response was that the costs of various materials had increased substantially. To that point, the Trustees have now decided to approve (at a November 6 Trustee meeting) only the general contractor, Summit Construction of White Plains along with limited other functions for the project. They will ask for re-bids from various contractors for electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning work as these additional elements in the building process are reconsidered.

Regardless of how the design issues are resolved, the question of how the difference in costs are handled will probably not be settled easily. It could be that certain other Village projects will have to be postponed until firehouse construction is completed. Further, a number of citizens are now re-asking the question of whether or not a single location would now make more sense than two almost redundant stations now proposed to be located relatively close together. Reports have filtered through the community that the two fire companies would rather not share quarters. Still others have privately made the suggestion that one larger house on Rt. 119 would better fit the Village’s future than a neighborhood that is filling up with additional homes and children. The additional question of where the latest piece of hook and ladder equipment is better located has already been decided in favor of the Rt. 119 building. In fact, Tarrytown has a responsibility to handle accidents and fires on the Tappan Zee Bridge. While all this is continuing, the Village is currently taking steps to ensure more complete financial records from the Tarrytown Fire Department in its purchasing requirements. Like the new High School and Middle School reconstruction scenario that has also run seriously over its own budget, it is beginning to look like one should start Village projects while contract ink is still drying!

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About the Author: Arnold Thiesfeldt