NORTH TONAWANDA – An evacuation of elderly North Tonawanda citizens during the “October Surprise,” a storm which struck on Oct. 12, 2006 and knocked out power and closed roads as tree limbs came crashing down, emphasized the need for a handicapped accessible site at Sweeney Hose Fire Hall, which acted as a shelter in the storm.
But plans to add a $160,000 addition to the fire hall at 499 Zimmerman St. has been 30 years in the making, said Sweeney Hose President Joseph Lavey Jr.
He said the station has no showers, no place for volunteer firefighters to bunk, and no handicapped accessible bathrooms, which were hardships highlighted by the storm 10 years ago.
Lavey said their volunteer fire department has raised $84,000 for a 42 by 40 foot metal building, has been approved for a $50,000 State and Municipal Facility (SAM) program grant, and will seek a bank loan for the balance.
He will meet with the North Tonawanda Common Council at its work session Tuesday night to ask councilors to waive building permit fees. A vote would be taken on the request at a regular meeting next Tuesday.
“We’re pretty much building all of this on our own,” said Lavey.
Lavey said no city money is being used for this project.
He said it will take about a week to put up the metal shell of the building and construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks and completed by February.
“It will be a metal building, like a pole barn, which saves us a ton of money,” said Lavey. “These are built just like a house with a metal roof and metal walls. But you would never know it’s a metal building. When it’s complete it will look like it’s meant to be there.”
The Common Council will also discuss a plan proposed by the Department of Parks and Recreation to apply for $125,000 in Greenway money for a permanent band shell at Raymond Klimek Park, also known at Veterans Park, on the Niagara River. The request for approval to apply for Greenway money is expected to be on the agenda at the next regular meeting.
Also on the work session agenda are several traffic issues, a request to add diagonal parking to Main Street to accommodate more parking downtown and a proposal to create east/west truck routes through the city.
The work session begins at 6:30 p.m. in second floor council chambers at City Hall, 216 Payne Avenue. Voting is done at regular meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.