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City breaks ground on new fire station


City of Cedar Springs welcomes construction of new community asset

Representatives from the City of Cedar Springs, the Cedar Springs Fire Department, Orion Construction and others broke ground last week on the new fire station. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It’s been a long time coming, but the City of Cedar Springs and Orion Construction finally broke ground last week on a new fire station in downtown Cedar Springs. 

The groundbreaking ceremony was held at 38 N 2nd St last Thursday, May 21. The fire station will be built on the site that once housed the old library on the corner of Cherry and 2nd, and the old Community building, on the corner of Elm and Cherry. Both have been torn down.

“Today we put shovels in the earth to break ground on a new fire station that will be a much needed tool in the arsenal of our firefighters to be utilized in protecting both the hearts and homes of the people of Cedar Springs,” said Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley, prior to the groundbreaking. “As our firefighters are the people running into the buildings, the rest of us are running out. We are proud of a community that understands the need for proper facility to provide this heartfelt service to the citizens.”

The new fire station will provide added space and equipment necessary to service a growing Cedar Springs population. The Cedar Springs Fire Department serves a 16 square mile area, including the City of Cedar Springs and parts of Nelson Township, and approximately 5,600 residents. The Cedar Springs Fire Department is a fully volunteer/paid on-call fire department providing fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue and other services. The department is comprised of 20 firefighters and medical first responders.

What will it cost?

The Cedar Springs City Council approved placing a proposal for the new fire station on the ballot for the   November 2018 election. The proposal passed and provided the necessary financing through a millage and tax bond not to exceed $3,115,000, which will pay for site improvements, build design and construction, as well as additional equipment, vehicles and other related expenses for the fire department.

“The voters have entrusted the city to use their money wisely to build a new fire station that will propel us into the future. The current fire station has been in place for 40 years at this point, and we’re looking to build a facility that will last for the next 40-plus years,” said City Manager Mike Womack. “With any project we undertake here in the city, we are very cognizant of the costs involved. We thank the citizens for entrusting us with their money and we will use it to the best of our ability. Not only is Orion Construction providing us the best bang for our buck, but we were also able to secure an incredibly low interest rate on the bond issuance that is going to save a ton on interest as well.”

According to Womack, citizens approved a 15-year option with an estimated $4,013,850 payback on the $3,115,000 loan. But since the interest rate was only 1.35 percent, they now only expect to have to pay back $3,454,816. 

“That is a savings of $559,034 over the original 15-year projection,” Womack told the Post. “That accounts for an estimated $37,000 reduction in each yearly payment that the City has to make on the bond payback.  For the citizens, it translates into a reduction from the original estimated 3.4 mills tax increase that was approved by voters down to only about 2.59 mills in the first year (it’s technically a variable rate but we don’t expect it to change much from year to year). With all of the economic development going on in the City, that number could go down even more as more businesses come to town.” 

“I am happy that we waited until the optimal time to issue to the bond because even though the project was a little delayed in starting, it will strongly benefit the taxpayers in the long run,” he added.

A rendering of the new fire station. Photo courtesy of Orion Construction, developed and provided to Orion by Hubbell, Roth & ClarkInc.

What will the new fire station have?

The new 10,000 square foot fire station will be triple the size of the existing facility, providing much-needed space for meeting, training, and equipment storage. It will also be compliant with new federal standards and local code.

“We have equipment stored off site that we’ll be able to bring back on-site, and we’ll have a meeting room big enough to hold meetings without having to pull trucks out of the apparatus bays,” said Cedar Springs Fire Chief, Marty Fraser. “The new station will give us room to expand with new and updated equipment to serve the community as the need grows in the future. It will be a great asset to the community and something we can all be proud of.”

The new fire station features a nearly 7,000 square foot pre-engineered metal building for the apparatus area with four vehicle bays for fire engines, as well as storage areas for cleaning and storing gear, as well as a hose tower.  Directly adjacent to the apparatus bays is a 3,300 square foot office area with a 60-person meeting room, full kitchen, laundry room, office and storage areas, two full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms.

“We’re proud to be a partner with the Cedar Springs community and work with them to create a new home for the Cedar Springs Fire Department,” said Roger Rehkopf, President of Orion Construction. “The new facility will provide necessary updates and adequate room and resources for the firefighters to best serve their community and keep them safe.”

Orion Construction is serving as the general contractor. Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. is providing all architectural and engineering services, construction engineering, and oversight of the project.

Construction is estimated to begin in the next couple of weeks and be complete by April or May of 2021.

Construction Engineering and Oversight of the project

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