Ventnor City Fire Station 2

VENTNOR – The city’s plan to build a facility to temporarily house fire apparatus while the new Fire Station 2 is rebuilt at its current site on Wellington Avenue will end up benefiting the Recreation Department, officials said.

On Thursday, July 26, the Board of Commissioners will award a $3,560 contract to Marathon Engineering to provide a survey and plot plan to accommodate a metal building next to Titus Field on the 300-block of Surrey Avenue. On July 12, it awarded a $4,500 contract to Czar Engineering to design the concrete foundation for the building.

The 20- by 70-foot temperature-controlled steel building metal building will house fire apparatus while the existing firehouse on Wellington Avenue is demolished and rebuilt to current National Fire Protection Agency and FEMA standards.

According to Fire Chief Michael Cahill, Fire Station 2, which has been neglected over the years, was built in 1973 as a temporary firehouse and does not meet building codes established by FEMA for critical infrastructure buildings, such as elevation and wind resistance, and has reached the end of its lifespan.

The firehouse currently houses two engines, an ambulance and a rescue boat. A temporary facility is required to house the vehicles and equipment while the new firehouse is built. Cahill would like to see the new facility house surplus military vehicles the city uses during high-tide events, as well.

Having a firehouse in the Heights is a must, he said, because it is separated from the rest of the city by the inland waterway and the aging, county-owned Dorset Avenue bridge, which sometimes gets stuck in the open position.

The temporary building would serve a second purpose after the new firehouse is completed approximately 18 months from now. Demolition of Fire Station 2 is planned in December.

The project, the cost of which is unknown at this time, will be funded through a $20.8 million capital bond approved in November 2017 that included $3.77 million for improvements to various municipal buildings, including the library, public works building and the fire station.

Based on cost estimates, “It will cost $10,000 more to build the temporary structure than it will be to rent one, but the city will have that structure for 50 years,” Cahill said at the July 12 meeting.

“It could have been a great expense with no gain,” Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Kriebel said. “In this case…(the building) can serve that purpose and then it becomes a building we can use for the Recreation Department in the future.”

Kriebel said the Rec Department could use the building to hold classes and have conferences.

He said the city will soon go out to bid for the building and its amenities.

“We’re trying to be as conservative as possible with this project,” Kriebel said.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.