Cheney Free Press -

 
 

Cheney Fire Department building may get facelift

 

August 6, 2009



City puts up $15,000 towards grant application to better chances of being awarded $3 million

By DAVID TELLER

Staff Reporter

If the Cheney Fire Department can spend $15,000 from its budget to get $3 million then Fire Chief Mike Winters said he's willing to do it.

At the July 28 Cheney City Council meeting, a resolution was approved to apply $15,000 toward an application for getting a grant to pay for renovating the Fire Department building. Winters said the funding put forth by the city is a “good will gesture” to better the city's chance of being awarded the grant because no matching funds are required.

If the city does not receive the grant, the $15,000 in city funding is not spent.

Winters said he would like to have used to land where the Wren Pierson Building now sits to build a joint police and fire facility. That was not practical because of the short time line of applying for the grant, which is only open for 30 days.

Competition for the grants will be tough. Winters said there is about $210 million in grant funding offered by the Department of Homeland Security to cover about $30 billion in requests.

If the Wren Pierson Building insurance settlement had not been decided by the time the grant for the new construction was awarded, then Winters said his department would lose that funding, so he stayed with what he could count on. He added that he wants the project to be “shovel ready” in four to six months.

“Timing is going to be everything on this whole thing,” Winters said.

Cheney Lt. Ken Johnson completed the grant application. He said the renovation would provide more resident living quarters, a decontamination area, female facilities and updating the current amenities in the building.

Built in 1972, the current building is lacking many features namely because it was built for a volunteer staff. Now there are residents living there year round. Johnson said there are three people on duty at all times plus the six resident firefighters which creates a crowded kitchen at shift change.

Winters said the kitchen is too small and the appliances are outdated to the point of being dangerous. The dishwasher runs three to four times a day and the oven needs nearly twice the cooking time. To thwart germs and infection, he said a kitchen with that much use should be all stainless steel.

The remodel is to also keep up with the demands of the city's growth. The number of calls the department receives is almost double from what it was just eight years ago and continues to increase about 10 percent a year. Johnson said the residents not on duty are dealing with long periods of sleep deprivation because the frequent calls for service wake everyone in the building.

Winters said the building does not meet other requirements from the National Fire Protection Association, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the Washington Administrative Code.

If Cheney Fire Department is awarded the grant, the next hurdle is operations. Winters said the remodel would be done in phases, but the department still has to maintain operations, which he said might include the administration setting up in a construction office trailer. He said the engines would still need covered storage too.

Regardless of funding, Winters said he has no intention of vacating the current location.

David Teller can be reached at dteller@cheneyfreepress.com

 

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