2018-06-24 / Insight

Imlay City looks to rebuild fire hall if proposal is approved

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley @mihomepaper.com


If Imlay City residents approve the proposed bond issue Aug. 7, the city could have a new home for its fire department by the end of next year. If Imlay City residents approve the proposed bond issue Aug. 7, the city could have a new home for its fire department by the end of next year. IMLAY CITY — Imlay City officials unveiled their planned replacement for the city’s aging fire hall Tuesday evening. That’s provided city voters approve a 2.0323-mill general obligation unlimited tax bond being sought on the Aug. 7 ballot.

Construction on the current 6,000-squarefoot fire hall on East Third Street began more than 50 years ago and an addition in the early 1970s brought it to its current size. George Ananich, the lead architect and designer for the project at Davison’s H2A Architects, said the first time he met with the Imlay City Fire Dept. to discuss a possible design for a new fire hall, “they had to move a truck and set up some tables.”

Aside for a tiny office, nearly the rest of the existing station is used for vehicle and equipment storage and the department’s trucks are double stacked, which means firefighters sometimes have to take one truck out and put it back in order to use a truck they need.


Imlay City’s current fire hall opened its doors for the first time in 1967. Since then fire trucks have become bigger and more complex. 
Photo by Phil Foley Imlay City’s current fire hall opened its doors for the first time in 1967. Since then fire trucks have become bigger and more complex. Photo by Phil Foley Ananich said the proposed 12,000-square-foot station would have seven apparatus bays and one wash and filling station bay. Four of the bays, he said, will be drive-throughs and the three at the east end of the building will be back-ins for smaller trucks.

The proposed fire hall will have a couple of offices, a squad room, a laundry and locker room and a community room capable of holding up to 90 people. Ananich noted that new building codes for public safety buildings require that one of the interior rooms be built strong enough to serve as a storm shelter.

A feature of the building will be a hose-drying tower on the west end of the building. Ananich designed it with a wrap of glass just below the roof with a light fixture inside, so it will serve as something of a beacon.

City officials want to borrow $3 million to cover the cost of the building and pay for it with a 20-year bond issue. For a homeowner with a house with a market value of $100,000 and a taxable value of $50,000, the levy would cost an additional $101.62 a year for the next 20 years.

At Tuesday’s city commission meeting Mayor Walt Bargen noted, “One of the keys is the way we’re funding it by a bond, as the value of the city assets go up the cost goes down.”

City Manager Tom Youatt agreed, saying that as the city’s tax base increases over the next few years, the cost to individual property owners will actually go down. He pointed out that Gladwin-based developer Gary DeShano is moving forward with a $3-million, 40-unit assisted living project on Almont Avenue, Gallup Brush is planning a 30,000-square foot addition to its plant and Springfield Industries is about to build a 20,000-suare-foot headquarters building on a 7.9-acre parcel in the city’s industrial park.

“We feel we’re in good shape with our financial projections for this project,” Youatt said. “We’re hopeful the citizens will see that and will support it.”

Youatt said public turnout for an open house at the fire hall during last weekend’s Michigan Busker Fest was not as large as hoped, but he added plans are in the works for a couple of dedicated open house dates between now and August.

Late last year the city agreed to purchase the old state Dept. of Resources garage on Borland Road behind the Chemical Bank on South Cedar Street for $184,000 for the new fire hall. Since then the city has completed environmental assessments on the 2.66-acre site, tucked between Borland and Morrice Boulevard.

At Tuesday’s city commission meeting, Youatt told commission members the current fire hall, which first opened its doors in 1967, “has outlived its useful life.”

Provided city residents approve the funding, Ananich said the construction drawings could be ready by November-December. That would put the project out to bid in February and the station could be operational by the end of next year.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-06-24 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.