07/05/2022 | Pines Fire Department Shares Plans For South Station Renovation


Pines Fire Department Shares Plans For South Station Renovation
The Ocean Pines Volunteer Hearth Department’s South Station is pictured. Image by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN PINES – Conversations on a proposed South Station renovation, and the funding essential to make the job a actuality, highlighted a city hall assembly final week.

Last Thursday, the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fireplace Division (OPVFD) hosted a city corridor conference to examine proposed renovations to the South Station.

As officials appear to deliver the decades-outdated facility into compliance with benchmarks set by the Nationwide Fireplace Security Association, People with Disabilities Act and regional creating codes, they told group users very last week they are proposing an extensive renovation that calls for a demolition of its living and administrative quarters and the addition of a two-story building, as effectively as a new bay.

“This is not the Taj Mahal,” said OPVFD President Dave VanGasbeck. “We’ve labored extremely tricky to get this down to what we believe that to be the bare minimum that complies with all the prerequisites at this specified place in time.”

Previously this calendar year, Gov. Larry Hogan submitted a supplemental funds that integrated $1.35 million for renovations to the South Station. And in the weeks that followed, the section figured out it would get an further $250,000 in state bond funding.

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“I want you to know that $1.6 million that we are acquiring from the state of Maryland was the end result of the difficult get the job done of Wayne Hartman, our delegate, and Mary Beth Carozza, our senator,” VanGasbeck advised community users previous week. “We had nothing to do with it other than filling out a couple of kinds.”

Officers mentioned the renovation task is estimated to value $8.6 million and that the hearth division would add $1 million in reserve funding. The office is also looking for the community’s assistance to fund the remaining $6 million, which will be mortgaged about a period of 30 decades.

“The subsequent phase would be for the board to approve a referendum to start off that procedure …,” VanGasbeck reported. “Our wish, our hope, if we do get approval from the local community for the funding, is we would go ahead with the property finance loan system and start in the 2nd quarter of fiscal calendar year 2023.”

Preparations for a renovation job at the South Station started past year, when the office contracted with Manns Woodward Studios to full a feasibility analyze. Of the solutions presented to the department, officials opted for an comprehensive renovation. In addition to settling concrete in the administrative part of the constructing, the division has also claimed accessibility problems and the absence of satisfactory living and decontamination room.

“No major renovations have happened on this constructing in 35 several years,” stated Gary Campbell, principal at Manns Woodward Studios. “Fire stations again in the 80s ended up intended to be a 20- or 30-12 months constructing. We are at the 40-year daily life of this setting up now, and we are viewing the results of that over time.”

The proposed layout, introduced to community members very last week, features a a few-bay renovation, and the addition of a solitary bay and new administrative and living quarters. The facility would also feature a community room and coaching room, as properly as a new decontamination place and equipment place.

“This making ought to be strong and made to previous 50 many years,” Campbell said.

But right before the office can shift into the style phase, officers say they are trying to find the board’s aid to hold a referendum. If authorised, affiliation associates would see an assessment increase of $42 a calendar year, or about $3.50 a thirty day period.

“I never want anyone to seem at this as a cost,” said Fire Chief Steve Grunewald. “I want you to glimpse at this as an expense into the future of Ocean Pines.”

In attendance for last week’s town hall assembly, Hartman said he and Carozza commenced the perform to secure state funding very last year, immediately after viewing the want for improvements at the station. He mentioned the division has 3 years to make use of the income.

“The need to have was there,” he said. “We fought the very good fight and have been productive.”

Throughout community remarks, Standard Supervisor John Viola mentioned he had acquired many thoughts from association members regarding the proposed venture. He requested if the division was using its North Station setting up.

“That making is an operational, lively fireplace dwelling …,” VanGasbeck replied, noting that a lot of volunteer stations remained vacant until finally an alarm sounded.

Grunewald extra that the North Station was not used as the department’s key station mainly because it improved reaction moments. From the South Station, he mentioned, the division has a reaction time of 6 minutes.

“From the North Station to the Place is 12 minutes …,” he stated. “Additionally, if we had been to shut that station, our [Insurance Services Office] scores go up, which usually means your homeowners insurance policies will go up a lot more than $42 a calendar year … It is made use of on a every day basis.”

Viola also questioned how a new South Station facility would effects recruitment and retention.

“We see fireplace station layout as a big tool for recruitment and retention …,” Campbell replied. “It is some thing we see each individual time a renovation is completed. Recruitment improves … You want to develop a space in which individuals want to be.”

Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Director Amy Peck questioned how the division would function as renovations are accomplished.

“Where is the fireplace office going to operate when all of this is going on?” she claimed. “Are you going to shift to the north developing, and if that is the situation how does that have an effect on our ISO ranking?”

Grunewald noted that the section would possibly start off with renovations to the motor bay. And as the dwelling and administrative quarters are rebuilt, team would move to a trailer.

“The reaction time is crucial …,” he claimed. “Everything will still work out of listed here with fire and EMS.”

Peck also questioned if the department experienced viewed as a funds campaign, or further grant funding.

“We talked to the common manager and the consequence of that dialogue was to wait right up until just after this presentation to the community,” VanGasbeck replied.

Department staff very last 7 days also took issues from local community associates in attendance.

Resident George Solyak requested if the association had regarded as gathering effects expenses from close by growth initiatives. VanGasbeck claimed the office experienced instructed the association strategy the Worcester County Commissioners.

“We have started people conversations with the OPA board …,” he replied. “That is on the table.”

Resident Jack Collins questioned if the division experienced any alternative solution if the referendum did not go.

“We have no program B at this place in time,” VanGasbeck reported.

Resident Joe Reynolds questioned if a referendum was even wanted.

“OPA does not very own the composition or the assets …,” he stated. “I never see any want to have a referendum by the board of administrators for the reason that the arrangement between the board and the fireplace division could include this very easily by OPA masking the home loan charges just about every calendar year as element of what OPA delivers to the hearth division beneath our present agreement.”

Affiliation President Colette Horn said the board and the fireplace division would need to have to go over the conditions of the arrangement.

“Going forward, what ever function we engage in in funding this, it will be in the boundaries and scope of our governing files,” she mentioned.

Just one resident questioned why the office experienced not proposed other alternate options.

“I can’t recognize why this is all or nothing …,” he stated. “What if the board says no to this, what occurs?”

Officials argued the office had seemed at other options but decided the proposed challenge was the best use of affiliation bucks. VanGasbeck pointed out the feasibility review highlighted some of the alternatives that ended up regarded as.

“We have not padded this,” he said. “What we’ve finished is collected the bare minimum needs and place them into choice 3.”

Horn stated those people concerns were being one thing the section must consider when looking for the community’s help.

“If it goes to a referendum, the conclusion is going to be in the fingers of the membership,” she reported. “And I would encourage hearth section management to be knowledgeable these are legitimate questions currently being requested. You
are going to have to provide this to the community and remedy concerns as to why other solutions are not feasible.”

At the summary of past week’s assembly, Director Josette Wheatley and her spouse presented the department with a $1,000 donation elevated by the neighborhood to be employed in the renovation of the South Station. The section also encouraged affiliation associates to go to the OPVFD website to find out additional about the task.

“I think this course of action is significant,” VanGasbeck claimed. “You need to know that we want to be clear in what we do and how we do it.”


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