(Aug. 16, 2013) The reconstruction of Station 4, the Ocean City Fire Department’s 130th Street outpost, looks to be a done deal as City Council approved a final price for the facility’s construction this week just shy of $2.7 million.
Savings over the budgeted cost of the project will be used to convert the city’s parks maintenance warehouse on Jamaica Avenue into a temporary fire station while the work is being completed.
The winning bid for construction was Gillis Gilkerson of Salisbury at a price of $2,692,018, City Engineer Terry McGean said. Even with $131,125 in architectural fees added, the total figure is still well under the $3.35 million allocated to the project. The city borrowed that money in a 2012 municipal bond issuance.
The department named the rebuilding of the 130th street substation as its top priority for capital projects back in 2009, due to the concentration of high rises and year-round residents in the area Station 4 serves.
Federal stimulus money was anticipated for the project but never came through, leaving the preliminary plans for the building to sit until the city could leverage a bond to borrow for the project.
Although the facility has been scaled back considerably from its initial proposal, including eliminating a number of energy-efficiency designs that would’ve been beneficial but too expensive, the new building will still provide 11,500 square feet of space.
The engine bay and garage will have over one-third more room than the current Station 4. Accommodations for live-in crews, such as a kitchen, are also in the plans.
Construction of the new station is expected to begin in September, McGean said. While work is under way, the OCFD will relocate its operation to the Park and Recreation Department’s garage at the northern terminus of Jamaica Avenue, only a few blocks from the station.
“We looked at four alternative locations,” said OCFD Chief Chris Larmore. These included the Bethany Beach Fire Company’s Station 2 in Fenwick Island, the Ocean City Public Works station on Gorman Avenue, the Ocean City Beach Patrol post on 130th Street and the parks building.
“The goal was to try to keep us as close to the existing building as we could, because that location has proven to be the best for response,” Larmore said.
The parks building would require limited modification to be used as a firehouse, since it already has garage doors large enough to for the engines.
“They also have an area that we could pretty easily convert to a live-in area,” Larmore