September 30, 2014

Construction of new fire hall on schedule

James Kuch
The Standish Area Fire Authority is currently housed in this building at 909 W. Cedar Road. in Standish. Fire chief Mitch Oliver said the department has been housed in the building, owned by the city of Standish, for approximately 35 years.
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STANDISH — Everything is in order for the construction of the new fire hall for the Standish Area Fire Authority.

Fire Chief Mitch Oliver said the preconstruction process is being finalized and construction may begin early next year.

“An architect has been hired, and everything has been moving along,” he said. “We just have to go over our quote and everything should be ready. Groundbreaking could take place this spring.”

The construction of the new hall comes in part due to funding given to Michigan from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Standish received $485,000 to construct a new fire hall building, and Oliver said the Standish Area Fire Authority will have to provide $100,000 on its own. Standish Fire Authority President Doug Ireland said $200,000 comes from a federal grant the city received, another $285,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture, totaling $585,000 for the project.

“The grant took around six to eight months to complete,” he said.

Ireland said Standish will have to pay back the $285,000 from the USDA over the next 40 years.

Oliver said that the fire authority was able to pay the $100,000 it owes thanks to money it had saved in its general fund and $50,000 received from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe from its fall 2 percent class-3 gaming revenue distribution.

“(The fire authority) has been trying to get into a new building for 10 years,” he said. “We had been stuck in a holding pattern.”

Oliver said that the current fire hall belongs to the city of Standish and will be given back when construction is complete.

He added that the new fire hall will be bigger and allow the fire authority room to grow.

“We are still looking to spur some interest in the Standish Area Fire Authority,” Oliver said. “Hopefully this helps us.”

Ireland said the fire authority has outgrown the current hall, and that having a new hall will help the fire authority prepare for the future.

“Right now we have equipment in other locations. We need to get it all under one roof,” he said. “We barely have enough floor space to walk around the trucks. This new building will help us be prepared if (Standish) expands.”

Ireland, who also serves on the Standish City Council, said the future of the current fire hall has not been discussed. He added that a 30-day bidding process will be taking place.

“We will let everyone know when that process will begin,” he said.

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