Council accepts ARPA community grant for fire station project

by Dan Holland

Nov. 6 city council meeting

Members of Broadview Heights City Council at their Nov. 6 meeting passed a resolution accepting an American Rescue Funds Act Community Grant to put toward funding of a new fire station project.

At present, the city has no formal plans to build such a facility, according to Fire Chief Jeffrey Hajek.

Voters in May 2022 rejected Issue 4, a charter amendment that would have raised the fire and emergency medical services levy in Broadview Heights from 4.2 mills to a rate not to exceed 5.8 mills. The issue failed after 60% of the voters rejected the proposal.

A $3.7 million bond ballot issue in 2002 to fund an addition and renovations to Fire Station No. 2, located on city campus, at 9455 Broadview Rd., also failed at the polls.

“This $250,000 ARPA community grant will go into the fire station project fund, but that doesn’t mean that we have plans for building something, just that it goes into that fund,” Fire Chief Jeffrey Hajek said. “I’ve advised council and the mayor and the city that we need to keep moving toward a new fire station headquarters. We still need to keep putting money aside and keep working toward that goal. Our stations are 60 and 50 years old respectively, so something has to be done.”

Hajek explained that a new fire station headquarters, presumably on city campus, would be able to better serve residents in the south end of the city, which has grown in population over the years.

“The south end of town is getting busier, and with a new station, we could run two squads out of that location,” said Hajek. “Currently, if there is a squad call in the south end of town, and the squad at station No. 2 is gone, we have to wait for the second squad to come from the Wallings Road station. With a new station, we could rearrange for two squads; we just can’t run that with the size of the station here on campus.”

Mayor Sam Alai told The Broadview Journal that the city will not seek to go back to voters on the issue.

“The need for a new fire station has not gone away; it still needs to be built, but we will not go back on the ballot again,” said Alai. “The voters said no, and we respect that, so we’re trying to find other sources to fund it. This is a $250,000 ARPA community grant that came to us through county council. We’re very grateful for it, and these are the things we’re trying to do to get the money to build a new station.”

Alai said the city will pursue a variety of grants and also apply cost-saving measures to accumulate sufficient funding over time for a fire station project. “We will continue to look for federal earmarked grants and state infrastructure grants; we will pursue them and only come back to build this fire station when we’re ready without going back to the voters again,” he continued. “We’re turning over every rock we can to try to find funding. We’re looking at innovative and different ways to find money in other areas while applying cost saving measures.”

Additional actions

Council approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for a juvenile diversion program in the city. Councilmembers also passed a motion to approve the city planning commission’s recommendation to allow modifications to developer Joe Carollo of JPMS Property Two LLC for a previously approved office building project at 8075 Town Centre Dr. ∞