Why Build A New Station?
Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue has been a resident of our community’s Main Street since 1946 and plans to continue to be a resident of Main Street in the future. There are many reasons for the organization needing to build a new fire/rescue station and stay on Main Street.
First, we have outgrown our current building. There is no more room for additional equipment and with the equipment we do have at the station, makes for tight quarters. We currently keep 2 vehicles outside and must regularly bring the ambulances outside just to clean the inside of the units because of lack of room to open the rear doors inside the bay. If anyone has visited the fire station you will also see very little room above the ladder truck and when that needs to be replaced, a new one will most likely not be able to fit.
Secondly, the central location that Main Street offers for responding to calls in areas north, south and east of the courthouse is essential. The close proximity to the nursing homes and many new housing subdivisions that are being built in the courthouse and surrounding areas allows for quick responses and with the hospital so close allows us a quick turnaround to put an ambulance back in service for another call. With call volumes approaching 4,000 a year, this is important. Moving off Main Street would increase response times to whichever area we moved farther away from.
Third, we are a volunteer organization that many times rely on our volunteers to respond from home to the station for fire calls and second/third medical calls. Having the station in a very central location allows our personnel to reach the station and respond the appropriate equipment in a timely manner.
Lastly, being on Main Street allows for Gloucester to maintain a small hometown feeling. In most every small close nit community you will find the fire/rescue department. During the events that Main Street offers (parades, festivals and open houses), you will find the fire station doors open allowing residents and visitors from near and far to come look at the equipment and talk with our volunteers. We have recruited many applicants from people just visiting after strolling along Main Street.
We appreciate the outstanding support we receive from our community and look forward to serving you from our new location, once it is built, in the many years to come.
What Are Our Alternatives?
When considering a new station, our first option was to look into remodeling and upgrading the current station. The current station started as a small, 2 car garage with a meeting room upstairs. Since then, the station has been remodeled and added on to at least 4 times with the last addition being nearly 30 years ago. Original cost estimates to update the current building far exceeded the costs of a new building.
So the next step was to consider demolishing the current building and rebuilding on the same property. Since we will need to continue Fire and EMS operations while the new station is being built, we would first need to build a temporary structure to house our equipment and personnel. The estimated cost of this temporary structure was in the millions of dollars, which would go to waste when it was removed after the new building was completed.
Our committee then began looking for other properties suitable for a new station, and they eventually settled on what is know as the Booker property.
What Are Our Plans?
GVFRS has purchased property on Main Street about 2 blocks south of the current Station 1. The buildings on the property have been removed and property is ready for new construction.
We are currently working with an architect to design the new station. The new station will meet NFPA requirements, have adequate living space for current and future needs, and a dedicated training center.
What is the Timeline for the New Station?
We do not have set timeline at this point. While we are moving forward with the design, due to funding and design uncertainties, we have not set a date to begin construction. Once funding is in place and the design has been completed, we will provide a schedule.
Demolition of the old Hotel has begun.
GVFRS has begun the process to remove the old buildings from the Booker property to make room for the new Station 1. The demolition will include removal of the hotel building, the furniture store, and the house all located along Main Street.
The concrete slabs will be left in place for erosion control until construction is ready to begin.Read more