Middletown seeks grant for more firefighters as city builds new stations

New stations will be a tool to keep, attract firefighters, city leaders say.

With an ongoing construction schedule to replace Middletown’s decades-old fire stations, city leaders are hopeful to have a robust staff with an additional seven firefighters in place to serve them.

City council authorized staff last week to apply for a Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant to add seven additional firefighters to the fire division.

The grant is totally funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for three years, then the city will have pay for salaries and benefits of the additional staff. City Manager Paul Lolli said the city’s annual estimated cost at the end of the grant is $785,000. He said the staff feels confident in the financial plan that the city will be able to absorb the cost once the grant runs out.

The city grant will request $1.95 million for seven firefighter/EMTs or firefighter/paramedics for the three-year period. It is just one of many grant applications all over the county asking for a piece of the DHS allocated a total of $360 million. DHS officials anticipate making 300 awards beginning the end of July.

Lolli said currently the fire division is staffed with 19 on duty per day.

“This will allow the fire department to staff the fire department at 21 firefighters on duty per day,” Lolli said.

“What that means is (with the additional staff), each station will have an engine company and medic unit staffed in it,” Lolli said. “This will take us back to 92 firefighters authorized strength, which was the number we were at the day I was hired in 1989.”

Both Lolli, who is the former fire chief, and current Middletown Fire Chief Tom Snively are hopeful, but they know it is not a done deal.

“The last time we applied, we did not get it,” Snively said. “But over the years, we have been successful at least two other times. They are very competitive. Although $360 million sounds like a lot of money, when you spread it across the country it’s not. So there’s no guarantee.”

Snively said if the city gets the grant, they will have 180 days to bring on the new hires. And that, too, is a competitive process with lots for area departments hiring.

He noted not as many people are going into the profession or to the trade schools, so now there is not a large of a pool of people.

Snively said the construction of new firehouses will be a retention tool for keeping firefighters and attracting them to the city.

In September, construction began on four fire stations to be built through 2025.

City and fire officials aid building the four stations was needed to better serve the communities that have experienced population shifts and growth. The oldest station in the city is 70 years old.

The construction of the new headquarters and Station 82 is expected to be completed by November 2024. Stations 81 and 85 will begin construction in August 2024 and are expected to be completed by June 2025.

The projected cost for the construction of the four new stations is estimated to be $26.8 million.


  • New fire headquarters location replacing the 1.38-acre site on Roosevelt Boulevard: A 3.6-acre site at Yankee Road and Cherry Street owned by the city as acquired from the Middletown City Schools and former site of Garfield school. Size: 24,300 square feet. Total cost: $10.5 million.
  • Station No. 81 location replacing 0.28-acre site on Clinton Street: A 2.85-acre site at Henry Avenue and Charles Street owned by the city as acquired from the Middletown City Schools and former site of the Jefferson school. Size: 10,200 square feet. Cost: $5 million.
  • Station No. 85 location replacing 0.86-acre site at Central Avenue and Breiel Boulevard: A 2-acre parcel at Sophie Avenue and Stolz Drive encompassing the undeveloped, southern portion of Dowling Park owned by the city. Size: 10,200 square feet. Cost: $5 million.
  • No. 82 location replacing 0.88-acre site on Dixie Highway: A 2.7-acre site at Ohio 122 and Atrium Boulevard acquired from Premier Health/Atrium Medical Center. Size: 11,800 square feet. Cost: $5.9 million.

SOURCE: City of Middletown/App Architecture

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