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Rocky Point voters approve $8.5M for new firehouse, truck

The North Shore Beach firehouse in Rocky Point,

The North Shore Beach firehouse in Rocky Point, seen here on Aug. 3, 2017, will be replaced with a new substation after voters OKd two propositions worth $8.5 million on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday / Carl MacGowan

Rocky Point Fire District voters on Tuesday narrowly approved a pair of propositions worth $8.5 million to build a new firehouse and purchase a truck.

Residents passed the firehouse proposition by a vote of 204-197. The fire truck proposition was approved 214-187.

District officials want to tear down the aging North Shore Beach substation at 90 King Rd. and in its place build a 11,422-square-foot firehouse. Building the new facility would cost $7.25 million, including interest on a 20-year bond.

Officials also want to buy a new aerial, or bucket, truck to replace a 1997 model that they say is obsolete. Voters approved $1.25 million for the new truck, including bonding costs.

Approval of the propositions will raise taxes about 0.87 percent — or $43.52 a year on a house with an assessed value of $1,600, fire district officials said.

Officials have said the current substation, built in the 1950s, is outdated and costly to maintain. The new firehouse will be about 10 percent larger than the existing structure and have energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems, an elevator and handicap-accessible bathrooms.

Commissioner Anthony Gallino said expected savings from lower energy and maintenance costs will make the new firehouse cheaper to operate than the current one.

“I think the approach we took with this was very conservative,” he said. “This is not a Taj Mahal. . . . We’re hoping over time we’re able to recoup the money we spent building the building.”

District officials said the new firehouse would be more spacious, with 14-foot-high bay doors and more room between bays. Some trucks barely fit inside the current structure, which has 10-foot-high ceilings, officials said.

The 1997 bucket truck “has pretty much exceeded its life expectancy,” Gallino said, adding the new truck may be larger because the new firehouse will have more space.

District officials plan to demolish the substation in April. Construction of the new firehouse is expected to take eight to 10 months, district manager Ed Brooks said.

“We have voter approval; that was the number one hurdle,” he said. “The public is OK with it. Now [district officials] get to move forward.”

The fire department will continue to operate at the King Road site during construction, with trucks parked in the parking lot and equipment stored in trailers while the new firehouse is built, Brooks said.

Gallino said the new building’s bays are expected to be completed by next winter. Fire trucks then will be moved inside while construction continues on the rest of the building, he said.

The Rocky Point Fire District serves about 30,000 people over 48 square miles in Rocky Point and neighboring Shoreham. Fire department volunteers respond to about 2,000 calls a year.

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