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Lindenhurst plans to spend $6M on firehouse replacement

Rendering of new Lindenhurst Village firehouse on Wellwood

Rendering of new Lindenhurst Village firehouse on Wellwood Avenue by Jeffrey Sendlewski. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Sendlewski

The Lindenhurst Village board has approved spending more than $6 million to replace its main firehouse -- a plan that involves building a new one, moving a historic building and relocating the village museum.

The village has been trying for more than five years to figure out what to do about its aging main firehouse on South Wellwood Avenue. Built in 1923, the structure suffered damage from a fire in 1978. In recent years, vehicles had to be customized to fit inside.

In 2011, the village obtained two engineering reports at odds over whether the structure was salvageable. A third report from firehouse specialist Marty Sendlewski of Riverhead revealed that steel girders supporting the building have almost completely eroded.

The village board earlier this month authorized bonding for $5.9 million. Contracts worth $4.9 million were awarded to MPCC Corp. of New Rochelle for demolition and general construction, Best Climate Control Corp. of Bohemia for mechanical work, ARA Plumbing Corp. of Seaford for plumbing, Relle Electric Corp. of Bellport for electrical work, and WHM Plumbing & Heating Inc. in East Setauket for fire sprinklers.

The village also approved $588,760 for additional costs and $275,000 for a contingency fund.

In 2008, the village proposed building a firehouse on another site with a $7.5 million bond. It was put up for public vote and roundly rejected, so village officials abandoned the idea.

Last year, the village announced it would rebuild on the current site.

"The firehouse has to be done and the only smart way to do it is to really make the building a little bigger," said village Mayor Thomas Brennan. "We're not going overboard."

The new firehouse will be 15,375 square feet, said Sendlewski, up from the existing building's 7,920 square feet.

Open meetings held last year seem to indicate residents are on board this time, Brennan said. "We've been taking it slow . . . getting the community involved so that we don't have any problems," he said.

Because the expanded firehouse will move into space occupied by the Old Village Hall Museum, officials will move the tiny building to Irmisch Park. The 1914 building -- used variously as Village Hall, a courthouse and a police station -- will join a 1901 railroad depot and train car as part of a permanent historical exhibit, officials said. The museum will relocate across Wellwood Avenue to a building used by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. The village authorized spending up to $180,000 for the relocation and improvements, and $350,000 to buy the church building.

Marian Santoli, president of the Lindenhurst historical society, which runs the museum, said a larger building will allow for permanent exhibits that previously had to be rotated.

"We have all kinds of things donated by past or current residents that have a real historical root in the village and we'll be able to put it all out instead of having it stored in the basement," she said.

The village must wait 30 days before bonding. Residents opposed to the bonding have until July 4 to gather signatures from 5 percent of the population that voted in the last state election in order to hold a referendum on the bonding.

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