Middletown considering 4 new fire stations with possible tax levy

During a strategic planning session held on Saturday, Middletown City Council heard a proposal on how it could finance the construction of four new fire stations to replace the current stations that are deplorable condition and do not meet state building codes for essential buildings. This is an artist's rendering of what a new Fire Headquarters/Station 83 might look like if relocated to Yankee Road and Cherry Street. Council met in their annual planning session on Friday and Saturday that focused on the reinvestment of city facilities. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF MIDDLETOWN
During a strategic planning session held on Saturday, Middletown City Council heard a proposal on how it could finance the construction of four new fire stations to replace the current stations that are deplorable condition and do not meet state building codes for essential buildings. This is an artist's rendering of what a new Fire Headquarters/Station 83 might look like if relocated to Yankee Road and Cherry Street. Council met in their annual planning session on Friday and Saturday that focused on the reinvestment of city facilities. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF MIDDLETOWN

Middletown voters could see another capital tax levy on the Nov. 2 general election ballot that would be used for a bond issue to build four new fire stations.

The city is considering an option to replace the four antiquated fire stations with new and relocated stations for better response times.

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City Manager Jim Palenick said the city could allow the current Senior Center/Central Connections levy to expire and place a new, 1-mill continuous levy dedicated to fire capital improvements on the ballot in November for the $15.11 million project. He said it would also allow the city to take advantage of historic low interest rates for municipal bonds.

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He said the city has made no formal communication on this issue with anyone representing the Middletown Area Senior Center. The proposal was made based on previous information from senior center officials in January 2017 that they did not think they would seek another levy and would be self-sufficient.

A request for comment was left for the senior citizens center board president on Monday.

According to the Warren County Auditors office, the five-year senior center levy expires Dec. 31 and is expected to generate about $700,000 for the 2020 tax year.

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Fire Chief Paul Lolli said there is a growing need for public safety services as new homes being built at Sawyers Mill and Renaissance.

“The current stations are hindering us,” Lolli said. “It’s not just about the physical buildings. We need to bring everything together and allow us to expand. Stations cost a lot. This would be a reinvestment in people, Middletown and the community.”

Assistant Fire Chief Tom Snively said none of the four current fire stations meet the requirements for an “essential building.” In 2017, the Division of Fire completed a strategic plan and pursued 75% of the recommendations.

However, none of the stations meet the state building code. They are at or nearing the critical failing point. Stations have cramped living and operational spaces, other structural and mechanical issues, and no sprinkler systems.

The city is proposing new fire stations to be located at the following locations:

  • Fire Headquarters/Station 83 would be relocated to Yankee Road and Cherry Street, from 2300 Roosevelt Blvd. The station would have five bays and would be about 24,350 square-feet. It would also have a tower to hang hose and for training use, and a large conference room for training.
  • Station 81 would be relocated to Charles Street and Henry Avenue from 307 N. Clinton St. This station would have three bays and would be about 11,250 square feet.
  • Station 82 would be relocated to near the corner Atrium Boulevard and Ohio 122, from 3765 Dixie Highway. It would have two bays and would be 9,700 square feet.
  • Station 85 would be relocated to Breiel Boulevard near Miami University Middletown and Middletown High School, from 4310 Central Ave. It would also have two bays and would be 9,700 square feet.

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