Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fire Station No. 6 Update (and then some)

I received an email from District 8 Commissioner Andy Herod late last week concerning the progress (or rather the seeming lack thereof) over at Fire Station No. 6. Readers will remember that the station has been closed for the almost 17 months since the snowstorm of 01 March 2009.

Wrote Commissioner Herod:

I saw on your blog where you asked what is happening viz Fire Station
#6. I asked staff about it. Here is their response:

"Reconstruction is currently underway and is being funded by the UG's [Unified Government's] insurance company. Crews are now working on the living quarters to renovate that area to a standard very similar to the new fire stations (e.g. Fire Station #9). The final drawings for the remainder of the reconstruction are currently being finalized and necessary permits obtained. In fact, staff anticipates that the plumbing, concrete slab in the bay area, etc. will start sometime next week. The forms for the concrete slab are already in place. The current schedule indicates that the reconstruction will be completed and available for use by late fall."

All well and good; this is the course of action I advocated almost a year and a half ago, namely that of using the insurance settlement to get the station back up and running as soon as possible. Even so, given the news blackout concerning the issue since last summer, some legitimate questions remain.

Even though I did not support relying on it to reconstruct the station, what happened to that Obama Administration economic stimulus grant that the Unified Government was going to use to accomplish this goal? After all, if ever there was a “shovel-ready” project, this was it (putting aside the fact that the entire stimulus bill was a sham from the very beginning).

Was the economic stimulus grant applied for? If not, why? If so, was the application turned down? If so, why?

If the economic stimulus grant was not applied for, why did it take so long to get started using the insurance settlement?

How long did (will) it take to get the ”final drawings” and “necessary permits?” When did this process begin? If recently, why did it take so long? If not recently, does not that fact bode ill for private sector businesses trying to navigate the regulatory process imposed by the Unified Government?

Regardless, thanks to Andy for addressing my concerns. I do not live in his district (I live in District 1 and “super” District 9), and yet he is the only member of the Commission or Board of Education (I live in BOE District 1) member who actually addresses the issues I bring up here, either through TOA blog posts, letters to the editor of the Banner-Herald, or through direct communications with elected officials.

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