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Peekskill Completes Environmental Review for Central Firehouse Plan

The Peekskill Common Council approved its findings statement on the state environmental review for the central firehouse proposal.

The state environmental review for Peekskill central firehouse proposal was completed Thursday when the Common Council approved its finding statement for the project.

The move comes more than two weeks after officials accepted the final draft environmental impact statement for the project and passed a resolution authoring the use of eminent domain to acquire the land needed for the project.

A copy of the findings statement is available in the PDF file attached to this story.

"I know that there is a lot of controversy over the firehouse," said Councilwoman Marybeth McGowan. "But the council believes that, first of all, that there was proof that it would have been very difficult to bring all of the firehouses up to standard. The response time will be a little quicker and, the long run, it is fiscally responsible and will be a savings in the long-term."

Officials want to build a 36,000 square foot, $15.6 million, two-story structure built on the northwest corner of Main and Broad streets and has been studying plans for the facility since 2008. The city’s current facilities are outdated; too small for the fire trucks; too cramped for the people on duty and for proper training; and can’t be retrofitted to meet the needs current needs of the department.

The city has already acquired 1137 Main Street and 1141 Main Street in order to acquire the space needed for the project. But the city is still undergoing lengthy negotiations with the owner of the Crossroads Shopping Center, located at 1101-9 Main Street, so that it can move forward with the project.

Businesses in the shopping center that would be affected if the city decides to condemn the property have complained that it is unfair for them to have to relocate, that there other options available in terms of configuring the site, and that the city will not be able to fairly compensate them for moving.

Other city residents have complained that the scope of the project is too large and costly, given the current economic climate.

Barbara LoPrete December 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM
If the city continues to put out this 15.6 million dollar number, based on the architect's figures from how many year's ago - the same architect who did the study of the existing firehouses - then let the architectural firm guarantee no more than a 1% overrun or they will pick up the difference. I'm willing to bet that this project will cost in excess of 25 million dollars - a burden this city could ill afford in robust financial times. Please do one honorable thing for the people of this city and put this on the back burner, find a different location, and build a smaller firehouse.
Patty Villanova December 28, 2012 at 01:44 PM
For many years, Mr. Mitchell & Co. have been trying to build a similar firehouse in neighboring Put Valley which can afford it even less than Peekskill. The building is very similar to what they want to do in Peek but they claim it will cost only $10 million or so which seems pretty incredible. In 2009 PV tried to get a FEMA grant that would cover a large part of the costs; however the firemen, in their zeal to get a new clubhouse, fudged the application and lost the grant. The good news for Peekskill is that there is still plenty of FEMA/Stimulus money available for its new firehouse and for the life of me, I don't understand why Foster, Klaxton, McGowan et al don't bother to even apply for the money. As I have posted here many times, I will even show them how to fill out the paperwork and help them get the grant money (for a small fee, much less than they've paid anyone else to date). In fact, if there was anyone at city hall who knew what they were doing (apparently there is not one person capable) they could probably go online and figure it out for themselves. There are still millions available & Peek fits the bill as to its demographics (racial and financial) and needs as a small city. I am also surprised that none of the taxpayers who post here seem to be interested either. Face it, you guys, you're getting the firehouse whether you want it or not. Why not let someone else pay for it?
joshua tanner December 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM
This is almost as zany as the baseball stadium Ramapo supervisor built when everyone hated it
notsurprisedonebit December 28, 2012 at 06:08 PM
How the hell could response time be quicker when you are on the busiest intersection in the city, which also happens to be one of the worst for traffic accidents? Idiots!!
Super Niceguy December 28, 2012 at 06:37 PM
The 2013 budget for the fire department is $3.7M; we have a small 6 square mile city to protect with additional help from many neighboring fire districts. I believe that we spend too much and the centralized fire house will help reduce the annual operating cost and improve fire protection service to our city. If we are to encourage bigger development like a high-rise building in the vacant lot next to proposed site we need a state of the art fire house, with good central management and command structure controlling professional firemen. 2012 was a good year of fiscal improvement for the Peekskill fire department saving $200k in payroll expenses and $1M overall from the prior year. Let’s give them what they need to be the modernized team that our growing city needs for years to come. I believe this is the perfect market with all of the stimulus and competing construction companies the city should get a good deal and mineralize cost to the city residents. A responsible accountable leader to coordinate revenue generation from grants and accurate cost estimates and controls should be appointed. How about our CPA mayor providing this assurance to the people of the city pro-bono? It’s a good chance to shine . . . or whine.
john basic December 28, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Will there be a bond floated to pay for I:m sure at least 20 mil? or will taxes go way up? Just curious
john basic December 28, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Also, who will pay for the shopping center? With what money?
Tina Bongar December 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Patty, I went to the DEIS Public Hearing, okay, and submitted the FEMA grant applications on a disk. So the City of Peekskill has the information, and this is probably the fourth time, I've raised this possibility to the Council. With it apparently falling on deaf ears, I made a point to submit hard copy -- even stiffer than paper that disk -- so that this kind of financial information is available in the DEIS. As far as I have read, the DEIS does not address the FEMA funding and even hiring a consultant to do it -- do you see it there? I also raised our 100-plus year wastewater drainage infrastructure -- I don't see this addressed either. If they ultimately don't address my concerns raised during the Public Hearing, the DEIS was prepared by the same paid consultant for The Cove BTW, I should address this oversight with the State correct? I seem to remember that this is possible from the expert on DEIS that Scenic Hudson kindly brought to our Westside Neighborhood Group when we were looking at Ginsberg condo project. Finally, I'm concerned because I think the only way to address this oversight is through an Article 78 -- what do you think of that possibility? I'll send you an email too to get your feedback, thanks.
Liz Claire December 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Tina or Barbara or anyone -- What is the plan for the old firehouses? Shouldn't the City be selling them if they are going to go on this fait accompli fool's errand of eminent domain? The hypocrisy in Foster Klaxton Rigger et al is unnerving, a cesspool of cronyism and corruption. How can you steal land from one of the bigger taxpayers in the City without a plan to replace it? Oh, that's how. Foster will fire everyone in City Hall and do everything by herself. A prescription for failure for the City.
stephanie December 28, 2012 at 11:41 PM
All you people who want this so called new central firehouse we DON'T need why dont tou all pay for it as well as that bitch mayor. we DON'T NEED THIS SO CALLED NEW FIREHOUSE WE HAVE 5 already and as a firemans daughter i know for a fact they can repair the ones we have IF THEY NEED WORK DONE TO THEM as i see it the response time will NOT BE THE SAME IN FACT IT WILL TAKE LONGER for them to get to a fire so there is NO NEED FOR A NEW ONE to be built period
Patty Villanova December 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Referring to Tina's post: I haven't seen a copy of the complete DEIS. Does anyone know what it contains in the "economic impact" section?
Silent Majority December 29, 2012 at 04:14 PM
1.) What happens with the other 4 firehouses left that the city would still have to tend to because we have to make sure that oil is burning in there to ensure pipes dont freeze, buildings dont fall down etc? 2.) People in Peekskill do not want high rises as Mayor Testa found out when he proposed 14 story high rises downtown. He took the hint & didn't run again because he would not have lost & bigger aspirations looked better to him than a loss on his political score-card 3.) The one thing the volunteers & the City will not tell you, is that the first step in creating a fully paid fire department is centralizing the firehouse. This city has a fantastic track record of volunteers in the fire department, however, as volunteers are moving away & have jobs further outside the city boundaries, the paid contingency becomes more vital than ever. Not a single word has ben mentioned of this fact. 4.) complete & utter garbage is spewed & from Mayor Foster that the taxpayers will not be paying for the firehouse which is false. I can't believe that she told that to people to their faces at the common council meeting when she knows she was being recorded for future reference! 5.) its just to damned expensive right now. Sorry brother, but sometimes we have to put things off to cover our finances now. WE just laid off 18 people. Retired many more. The city is hurting. We should have had TARGET which could have paid taxes but Foster et al stabbed them in back & turned away jobs & taxes!
peekskillman December 29, 2012 at 04:33 PM
well stated all --this is a luxury that cannot be afforded at this time. The people are speaking,yet the council has not heard. To answer one of SM questions, the Highland Ave firehouse has been shuttered since the summer, condemned for use by the firemen due to a range of issues; who is now going to buy this building, given the past history, and that the city will want the new owner to make the repairs? The laundry has left, so now that whole block except the soda place is going to be vacant.The DEIS has not taken into account what this old timer has seen, and that is what is buried in the ground from urban renewal. When the backhoes start digging, we will see the mess in the ground, and then the cost is going to rise even more. The council should be more focused on putting those laid off back to work and revitalizing the city, not spending more money to pander to a few.
Robin Seggs January 01, 2013 at 10:00 PM
seriously? you called the Mayor of the City a "bitch". Women hating on women is just disgusting. I hope you don't speak that way in front of children. And this is why no one cares about your ignorant opinion.
leesther brown January 02, 2013 at 01:01 AM
@Robin...She sure did and that's kinder than I would describe her..and as far as Women hating on Women ain't nobody as disgusting as the Mayor of this City with her "Frightful, Spiteful self...

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