Palisade finalizes plans for new fire station



$1.3 million — town capital fund

$125,000 — town water and sewer fund

$103,000 — town general fund

$88,000 — Department of Local Affairs grant and town match

$75,000 — federal severance and mineral lease dollars

$57,500 — Palisade Rural Fire Protection District dollars

The Palisade Board of Trustees has tentatively agreed to spend $1.76 million to build a new fire station as part of a project that would include a training tower and the makings of a new police station.

Trustees informally gave their approval for the plan Tuesday night and are expected on May 22 to sign a contract guaranteeing a maximum price for the work. Construction should begin June 1 and take six months to complete, Town Administrator Rich Sales said.

The 1950s-era, 6,100-square-foot fire station next to Town Hall will be replaced with a 13,000-square-foot station at 711 Iowa Ave. The station is the latest phase in the redevelopment of the old Palisade High School into a civic center. The gymnasium of the old school has been refurbished and opened two years ago.

Sales presented the board with three options featuring different price tags and levels of work. The most expensive option, which was selected by the board, includes funding to roof,  insulate and remodel the exterior walls of the former Valley East School building, a 5,500-square-foot facility that would house the police station and possibly the trustees chambers. Sales said that would make the building ready for use.

Another option, with a $1.74 million price tag, included funding to install the necessary mechanical systems and finish a trustees room in the old high school. But it didn’t have dollars for the police station or the fire tower. Town officials say the fire tower is important because it can be used for training and to dry hoses, extending their life.

The least expensive option, at $1.65 million, included funding just for the mechanical systems for the trustees room.

Sales recommended the option ultimately approved by the board, saying a piecemeal approach to the project would cost the town more money in the long run.

Trustee Dave Edwards agreed, noting the town could have a finished building for police to move into in a year or two.

Having chosen the $1.76 million option but having only $1.74 million available, the town will have to take roughly $17,000 out of its reserve fund or find another funding source.

The town originally planned to erect a new $3.6 million fire station at the east end of what will become the civic center and tear down the former Palisade library branch. But the recession left officials unwilling to take on the debt necessary to build the station at that cost, and they instead chose to build bays for the Fire Department’s two fire trucks, store ambulances in an existing garage and remodel the old library for office and staff space.


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