HARRISON TOWNSHIP — If you’re expecting an update on renovating or possibly even building a new fire station in Harrison Township, don’t.
Harrison Township Fire Chief Dave Bostater said Jan. 6 that COVID-19 has brought all discussions about renovations to Station One, on Crocker Boulevard, “to a standstill.”
The station was originally constructed in 1972. The layout, living area, bathrooms, kitchens have suffered wear and tear over the past 50 years. It is structurally sound, but requires a new roof, as well as updates to plumbing, wiring and HVAC systems.
Renovation costs are estimated at around $1.2 million, which makes Bostater and township officials question whether a new building would make more financial sense.
“It is in pretty rough shape and does need a renovation,” Bostater said. “Can we build new? That’s yet to be seen.”
That is quite premature, he added. If that endeavor was undertaken, it would have to be township property and likely in a location close to where it currently exists.
“It hasn’t been a major priority because we’re all just trying to get through COVID-19,” he said. “The only way a new station would happen is if we stayed through a budget put forward through renovation, or if we got grant money.”
The department’s annual budget is about $6.7 million, including wages, retiree pensions and healthcare. There are 26 firefighters in suppression, usually nine on duty daily — five at Station One and four at Station Two, on Jefferson Avenue.
There is one chief, one fire marshal and one administrative assistant. Bostater said one more firefighter would fill the personnel quota in suppression.
“You have to look at your options,” he said. “That’s really important so you have a comparison and see how you get the most for your budget.”
No contractor was ever hired for the station’s intended renovations. Bostater said the process went as far as an architectural rendition and price estimate.