The Point Lookout-Lido Fire Department is asking the community to support a $7.5 million initiative to upgrade its facilities.
The department held two meetings last week to inform residents about a proposal to expand and renovate the Main and Lido firehouses and demolish the 80-year-old Ye Olde Firehouse, which was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The department would use $500,000 from the district’s building account, officials said, but they are asking the public to approve a $7 million, 23-year bond to cover the remaining costs. A vote will be held on July 9, from 4 to 9 p.m., at the Main and Lido firehouses.
The Board of Fire Commissioners said that the renovations are necessary, and called the plan “fiscally prudent.” Some residents, however, say it is too expensive, and they are angered that the board did not seek the input of the public before deciding on a plan.
Commissioner Andrew Richter said the department began planning to upgrade its facilities before Sandy. But the storm was a “game changer,” he said, illustrating how much its facilities were lacking.
In addition to the work on the firehouses, the plan calls for the construction of a new and smaller command center to replace Ye Olde Firehouse.
The $3.75 million renovation to the Main Firehouse, the department’s headquarters, would expand it to almost twice its current space with the addition of a second floor that would include a meeting room, a company room, a conference room, a radio room, a bunk room, an office and a handicapped-accessible bathroom. The plan also calls for an enlarged apparatus bay, a new elevator and data services upgrades.
The Lido Firehouse would also more than double in size, with upgraded facilities, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, bathrooms with showers on the second floor, a new company room and a new office and bunk room, as well as an enlarged apparatus bay. Richter explained that none of the department’s buildings currently have showers, so when firefighters leave a call, they have to shower at home.