LAWRENCE-Mayor Michael Sullivan says the Lawrence Fire Department is about to get over a million dollars in renovations to repair six fire stations along with purchasing a new fire truck and two new sports utility vehicles.
Its been far too long since the fire dep-artment has been upgraded. Were spending over a million in capital improvements for six different fire stations, Sullivan said. Were replacing an engine at Bailey Street for $350,000 and we are scheduling repairs to Engine 7 (Park St.), Ladder 4 (South Broadway), Engine 8 (Prospect Hill), the station on Ames Street (Tower Hill), and the Central Station on Lowell St.
The capital plan is part of a five year borrowing measure approved by the City Council last year. The renovation of the six fire stations and the purchase of equipment will cost the city $200,000 each year for the first two years, $250,000 in years three and four, leaving a balance of 100,000 to be repaid in the final year of the bond. Mayoral aide Myles Burke says that the fire stations are in serious need of repair and have been neglected for so long that we will have to do some major repairs to the roofs, heating systems, air conditioning units, windows, doors, plumbing, and much of the infrastructure. Burke said that the list of needed repairs was compiled by members of the Fire Department. Each fire house weighed in on what they wanted and we responded to what they said they needed, he explained.
Burke said that the fire and police departments are also getting a $200,000 grant from Homeland Security funds that was secured by Fire Captain Laughlin.
Its called a Wellness Grant and we are using the money to outfit each station with gym equipment so that our fire and police officers can stay physically fit. These are very physical jobs and having the training equipment needed to stay fit is crucial to the public safety.
Mayor Sullivan said that he was grateful to the Lawrence City Council for diligently approving the 30 million dollar capital improvement bond to fix up the fire stations. Part of that bond will help to pay for the $6 million Veterans Memorial Stadium renovation project and the long overdue (and half completed) City Hall fix up.
We are making the improvements needed to have a first class fire department with first class fire houses." Sullivan said "Our men have to live in these stations every day and we're going to bring them up to a standard that the city can be proud of. These guys are putting their lives on the line every day and they deserve it.
Fire Captain Kevin Laughlin appeared at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association with more good news last week, telling res-idents there that the fire department was looking to open the Glen St. Fire Station (in South Lawrence) by 2005. When questioned about the possible opening, Mayor Sullivan said that it simply wasn't true.
This is the first time I 've heard about this, Sullivan said. Re-opening Glen St. is not a priority right now. I would hope that if the fire chief has a plan to reopen Glen Street, someone at the department would have talked to me about it first.
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