Mayor reveals further details on fire station project

by Dan Holland

March 4 city council meeting

Broadview Heights Mayor Sam Alai at the March 4 meeting of city council revealed more details of a plan to pursue funding to build a new fire station headquarters on city campus. The city accepted a $250,000 ARPA Grant last November to put toward the project.

In May 2022, voters rejected Issue 4, a charter amendment that would have raised raise the fire and emergency medical services levy in the city from 4.2 mills to a rate not to exceed 5.8 mills. Following the outcome, Alai said he would not put the issue before voters a second time.

During the council meeting, Alai revealed that he and others in the administration had recently met with state Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), to discuss applying for a $5 million state grant to be put toward funding a new station. Alai also re-engaged with the architectural and construction teams that previously developed plans for a proposed fire station headquarters two years ago.

In Nov. 2021, the city authorized an agreement with Van Auken Akins Architects LLC of Cleveland to provide architectural services for a new station. Infinity Construction Company, of Cleveland, was selected to provide pre-construction services for the project in Feb. 2022.

Plans at that time called for a six-bay double-depth station with administrative offices, an equipment bay, mezzanine, training tower, 10 bunk rooms, support rooms and a community/training room.

“They’re going to look at the plans and apply some cost saving measures, and then look at a cost-benefit analysis of reducing the square footage a bit without compromising on safety force needs,” Alai said during the meeting. “We’ll look at that benefit analysis going forward, and I’ll keep reporting weekly if I can, and keep everyone in the loop as we move forward with this.”

“We priced this two years ago, and we need to find out if those items we priced are still available,” Alai told said. “We’re looking into other things – it could be as simple as floor coverings and carpets that are no longer available, or if there’s something new and different. So, we’ll look at cost savings that way.”

“Infinity Construction is going to look at the building again, free of charge, and give us a price in today’s dollars,” he continued. “There were a lot of contingencies built in back then due to not being able to get materials during COVID-19. Now that it’s post-COVID-19, we’ll find out if things are more readily available now. So, we’re going to get a very good assessment to see where we stand.”

If constructed, Station 1 located at 3591 E. Wallings Rd., which serves as the current fire department headquarters, would remain open as an engine bay and ambulance bay, according to Alai. Station 2, located at 9455 Broadview Rd., would be razed, he said. The stations opened in 1963 and 1973, respectively.

“We need to keep our firefighters and our residents safe; the cost is not going down in the future,” Alai added. “We need to find a way to fund this, and we’re going find a way of doing this without involving any extra taxpayer dollars.”

Council clerk leaving

Clerk of Council Helen Dunlap was honored with two resolutions of appreciation during the meeting for serving as a council member from Dec. 2001-Dec. 2011, and as clerk of council from May 2012 to the present. She recently accepted a position with the city of North Royalton.

“She’s been a great councilperson; she succeeded at that, as a ward leader and as clerk of council,” said Council President Robert Boldt during the presentation of the resolutions. “The city is definitely better since you’ve been here. Your family has always given back to this city; your parents did, and you have, and now that’s instilled in your children. You should be so very proud.”

After the meeting, Dunlap said her husband, Brian, a retired Broadview Heights firefighter who was elected to represent Ward 4 on city council last November, was the one who first encouraged her to run for public office in 2001.

“I’m going to miss the people,” said Dunlap, who was born and raised in the city. “I enjoyed coming up with new ideas, and I enjoyed talking about the history of Broadview Heights with residents, colleagues and the administration. I’m still vested in this community whether I’m working here or not. I love it, and I think that the people here will bring a lot to it in the future.”

In other business, council approved:

  • Acceptance of a NOACA grant for the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program in the city. The grant will be used to cover 80% of the cost of a new handicap-accessible bus, according to Human Services Director Kathy Parsson.
  • An agreement between the city and Euthenics for the Treeworth Boulevard Extension Project. Euthenics was low bidder, with a cost of $48,200 to design the extension, according to Alai.
  • An agreement with Tac Computers for computer purchases in the police department.
  • An agreement with Lexipol, LLC for law enforcement procedures, manuals and training bulletins for the police department.

Under miscellaneous business, council approved a motion to accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation to grant approval for a commercial lot consolidation in PC Case #2024-01. Council also passed a motion requesting that the Law Department hold an information session with the Board of Zoning Appeals regarding area variances and the Duncan Factors. ∞