Future of West Chester’s oldest fire station to be studied

The two biggest budgets in West Chester Twp. for 2018 are for police and fire/EMS services, both of which are supported by levies that have long outlasted their life expectancy, but no new levies are in the immediate offing.

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The two biggest budgets in West Chester Twp. for 2018 are for police and fire/EMS services, both of which are supported by levies that have long outlasted their life expectancy, but no new levies are in the immediate offing.

West Chester Twp. residents may now have two issues they’ll be asked to weigh in on: the $13.6 million Miami 2 Miami trail connector and what to do with the township’s oldest fire station.

The trustees this week agreed to hire a consultant to help them develop a plan for Fire Station 73, a structure located in a predominately industrial area at 4850 Duff Drive off of Ohio 747.

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“This is kind of our forgotten fire station,” Trustee Ann Becker said. “It needs a lot of improvement, there’s a lot of wear and tear. There’s leaks, there’s a lot of things we need to do for our firemen and for the equipment and our fire station.”

The station was built in 1970, a two bay pole barn that housed an engine and an ambulance. The station was renovated and expanded to include offices and living space in 1992. The station currently houses a ladder truck, a hazardous material vehicle and is staffed with four firefighters.

Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson said future needs could include a medic unit, which would require two more firefighters, a total of six people to man station 24/7.

The consultant will be asked to study whether it makes sense to remodel the existing structure, tear down and build new, or perhaps relocate the fire station.

Trustee Mark Welch told the Journal-News he doesn’t believe relocation would be a viable option.

“To go to a different spot close to where we are would be very expensive,” Welch said. “We’d have to purchase land and build a new building.”

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Mentioning recent discussions the trustees have had regarding the Miami 2 Miami trail connector project — one Becker and Welch agree would take a vote of the residents — Becker said this was a first step in what will be a major endeavor for the township.

“I think roads (biking and hiking paths) was a big vote, but if we decide to do a fire station, that would be an even bigger one,” Becker said. “It’s important to get the public’s buy-in, let you guys see what’s going on there, because it’s one of our essential services.”

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