The days Fairfield Twp. will have to deal with its outdated and undersized Tylersville fire station are numbered.
Township officials broke ground Tuesday afternoon to kick off the construction of their new $4 million fire station on Gilmore Road, next door to the new soon-to-open StoryPoint, a planned independent living, assisted living and memory care facility.
“This has been a project that’s been talked about since 2006,” said Fairfield Twp. Fire Chief Tim Thomas, “and I’m probably sure it’s been talked about over kitchen tables a longer than that.”
Trustees in May approved Cincinnati United Contractors to be the contractor for the project, and expect the project should wrap up in spring 2019.
The 3,200-square-foot Tylersville Road fire station, which includes part of a former 19th-century school building, has undersized offices, vehicle bays and co-ed sleeping quarters, storage bins in the hallway, and an inadequate driveway. The building’s last update was in the 1970s, and trustees have to order smaller fire engines and ambulances — which cost more — so they’d fit in the station.
And behind the station, the township’s road department stores several pieces of equipment, including snow plow attachments.
The new station will be a castle in comparison as the new 14,000-square-foot facility will feature larger offices, a living area and an operations area with four apparatus bays.
“This really is a momentous occasion for Fairfield Twp.,” said Trustee President Susan Berding. “The process may have taken longer than we anticipated, however, finding the right location and design is key to ensure the fire station serves our community effectively over the next 50 years and beyond.”
There had been much debate on to where to locate a new fire station, and how to pay for it.
MORE: Fairfield Twp. fire chief: ‘We’re just out of room’ (May 2016)
In December 2013, the trustees at the time — none of whom are on the current board — borrowed $5 million in notes to pay for a new fire station. But nothing happened with that money, except for the township paying tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments. The trustees eventually paid back that loan 2017.
Trustees eventually considered three locations on the former Graceworks property on Gilmore Road before deciding to build it between StoryPoint and North Fairfield Baptist Church.
Berding said the building of the fire station “would not be possible” without the collaboration of the township, city of Hamilton and the Butler County Commission. The city and township partnered on a 200-acre joint economic development district, a special income tax district commonly referenced as a JEDD, and the Butler County Commission OK’d $44 million in new bonds for the StoryPoint project.
And Tuesday wasn’t just the ground breaking for the new fire station. Though it won’t be complete until spring 2019, Thomas said the first run from the site was already made as Engine 212 was parked on lot and was called out for service.