It’s been two years since village trustees discussed building a fire-training center and fire tower on a portion of the village’s seven-acre North St. property, and the volunteer firefighters of Saugerties want to know where they stand.
Discussing the matter at the trustees’ March 2 meeting, Trustee Don Hackett said that two years ago, he and other trustees took a look at the North St. property and found one or two areas that might meet the association’s needs for a centralized training facility for the town and village fire companies and Diaz Ambulance squad. The site would have included a burn tower, which would be several stories tall and made out of cinder blocks.
A room in the tower would be used for live fires so firefighters could train under controlled but realistic conditions. The tower would also be used to train emergency service personnel how to rappel down a building.
Trustee Brian Martin, who is a past fire chief and current president of the association, said at Monday night’s meeting that the tower and center would be paid for entirely by the Saugerties Emergency Services Association.
Two years ago, Hackett thought he’d found the perfect site, but DPW superintendent Bob Ciarlante (whose department uses a sizable part of the land for storage) nixed it.
Alex Wade, who is in charge of special projects for the village, doubts the state Department of Environmental Conservation would allow any new construction on the land. The dump opened in 1920 and closed in the late 1970s and was not capped because that wasn’t yet a requirement.
Trustee Terry Parisian said it’s probably best that such a facility not be put on North St. because of a proposed 53-unit apartment complex that might be built nearby.
The owner of Premier Development, whose proposed Country Meadow project has been stalled for several years waiting for possible state funding, has said he expects to hear from the state on his newest bid for funding sometime in April.
Parisian said a fire tower, with its accompanying smoke and large assemblage of emergency vehicles for training, should not be sited in a residential area.
Martin said it would be up to village trustees to decide if a training center and fire tower eventually gets built on North St., which he said would be an ideal location.
It’s centrally located, Martin said, and emergency service units from other communities that came to train there could eat in the village’s restaurants. He said it’s also close to fire hydrants and more convenient than East Kingston, the current training spot.