Islip Town will buy property for a new EMS building to accommodate emergency assistance vehicles as the number of service calls in East Islip has grown, officials said.
Town board members voted unanimously in June to approve a $3.2 million bond to finance the purchase of the 2.4-acre property at 100 Carleton Ave., down the street from the existing facility.
The Exchange Ambulance of the Islips, which provides emergency medical services to the town, has outgrown its current facility at 190 Carleton Ave., with limited space to house five ambulances and two first responder vehicles, according to town officials.
Its restricted capacity could delay the time it takes volunteers to respond to distress calls, Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said. The ambulance crew has also been forced to park first responder vehicles outside the building's parking lot premises, town officials said.
Carpenter said it's more cost-effective to relocate the emergency response facility to a nearby area rather than rehabilitate the existing building. The town council has been requesting the approval of these funds for a long time, she added.
“We’re really very happy we were able to move forward in an expeditious manner,” Carpenter said.
The Town of Islip once owned the property where the EMT facility will be relocated, but are now in the process of purchasing it back for $3.2 million, the same price the town sold it for in 2014, according to property records. It was previously a town-owned auto repair garage that the town voted to sell to developer Bohlsen Restaurant Group.
Robert Stadelman, vice president of the Exchange Ambulance of the Islips, said the building at the new location was largely left vacant. He said the town will renovate the building to fit the needs of emergency responders as it is approximately double the size of the previous one.
Exchange Ambulance is made up of volunteers and staff, and responds to calls in the hamlet of Islip, East Islip, Islip Terrace and Great River. The number of calls has climbed to 3,600 so far in 2018 from 3,000 in 2016, Stadelman said.
"In 28 years, our calls have more than doubled," he said. The purchase "leaves us enough room to handle what we have and for next year."
The town's public works department will also be able to use the property to house several vehicles on special occasions, according to the Town Attorney's Office. The public works department will be able to use some of the parking space for special events or in preparation for disaster response.
The proceeds of the sale of the existing facility will compensate for the repairs, town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said. The estimated renovation costs will be covered with a bond following town board review, Carpenter said.