The Derry Township Volunteer Fire Department Company No. 1 at Bradenville took the next step toward a new fire station.
The township supervisors, during Tuesday’s regular meeting, approved a cooperation agreement between the township and the fire company, outlining the parties responsible and obligations with regards to building the new fire station and the recently awarded Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) grant.
Earlier in the night, the supervisors held a special meeting to discuss the local department obtaining a loan at the municipal rate for construction of the proposed station.
“We needed to do this for the grant,” chairman Vince DeCario said. “That’s why we had to do this. It had to be sent in with the grant between (the township) and the fire department. They needed a copy of this to be signed by everybody and it outlines the responsibilities regarding the new building. It enables us to get our share of the money right now.”
Fire chief Mark Piantine previously said he’s spent about a quarter century working with local and state officials to acquire funding needed for a new station. The station — the only one currently in operation throughout the township — was awarded nearly $750,000 to build the new building on School Street in Bradenville.
The funding was part of nearly $6 million awarded to several Westmoreland County municipalities and organizations through the state’s RCAP program. The money is earmarked, per state officials, for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects in the state.
Piantine said the department will take out a 20-year loan of $578,120 at a 2.95% interest rate through Commercial Bank & Trust of PA in Latrobe.
“The amount isn’t etched in stone,” Piantine said. “We have to wait until the bid. But we have to get this part of the process done, so we can finish out the grant application. This has to be signed and turned in for the grant.”
Piantine said the department will receive $749,768 from the state and the fire company has to cover the rest for the estimated $1.5 million cost of the building. Part of that cost will be the $578,120 loan, in addition to about $171,000 of in-kind services, which include the purchase price for the property, core drilling, environmental studies, assessment value and more.
“The cost of the loan is going to vary,” Piantine said. “It could be a little more or a little less. We won’t know until the bids come in. The total grant is $1.5 million, which is the approximate cost of the building. The state is giving us half, so we have to come up with the other half between the township and (the department).”
Piantine said that the company has preliminary drawings of the new facility, which includes a new environmental-friendly roof design with a focus on stormwater management. He’s hoping to break ground sometime in the spring, depending on the weather. Construction could potentially take seven to nine months to complete.
“This can be made for further expansion on the left side,” Piantine said. “If we ever wanted to expand it, all we have to do is cut the roof.”
The building, which will be located adjacent to the department’s current fire station, will be constructed of steel and concrete. The new station, at roughly 8,500 square feet, will be about 40% larger than the current building.
The current station was built in 1952 as a dance hall and was converted to a fire station in the late 1970s. Initially, the department had only three trucks and now boasts six vehicles. The new fire station will feature heated floors and eliminate the need for a separate building to house water rescue equipment and utility vehicles.
The new building will also feature five truck bays, compared to just two in the existing station. Other additions will include a back wall storage area, a compressor room, along with an office, radio room and a lounge/kitchen area.
The building will also include bunks for six men and six women, along with shower facilities. During periods of major flooding in 2018, in which the department received 80-plus calls in three days, firefighters were forced to sleep on couches or trucks, but now, they’ll have sleeping quarters in the new building.
Vincent “Tobe” Cackowski, a former chief, was also in attendance on Tuesday for the significant event.
“To be at this point after waiting 40 years is pretty exciting,” Cackowski said. “I’m getting anxious.”
Also at the meeting, DeCario spoke out to residents about the use of recycling containers on township property.
“We still have people throwing plastic bags in,” DeCario said. “We’re monitoring it. If this keeps up, they’re going to be gone. We’re getting real close to just getting rid of them. It’s costing us a lot of money and we have to do cleanup around there. People still aren’t listening.”
The supervisors also approved:
- Renewal of electricity contract with NextEra Services of Pennsylvania, LLC for a 24-month term starting May 2020 at a rate of $0.04331 per kilowatt hour;
- An ordinance authorizing proper township officials to execute a cable franchise agreement with Citizens Fiber;
- Three subdivisions. The list includes the Yellets subdivision off State Park Road, which has been approved by the Westmoreland County Department of Planning, Harris subdivision off Barnhart Road and Berkey subdivision off Bergman Road, both contingent upon the approval of the county department of planning. Approval of the plans do not constitute acceptance of streets as dedicated and laid out until they are developed to the township’s specifications at which time formal written notice of acceptance of dedication will be delivered by the supervisors to the developer.