Erik Heuler from H2M architects + engineers is pictured at a...

Erik Heuler from H2M architects + engineers is pictured at a meeting Tuesday in Manhasset speaking about the design of a proposed new ambulance station for the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

A North Shore volunteer fire department wants to build an $11.7 million ambulance station and a special election is slated for June 6 so voters can decide whether to approve $10 million in bonding for the proposed facility on Cumberland Avenue in Lake Success.

The proposal from the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department attracted some community opposition at a public hearing Tuesday, with more than 100 local residents and fire department volunteers attending a meeting to hear details.

Department officials pitched the project as a way to make rescue operations more efficient and potentially increase emergency response times.

The department has three ambulances and a Ford Expedition outfitted for EMS responses, all of which currently are housed at the Company 3 station in the Thomaston area of Great Neck. Company 3 also is home to three pieces of firefighting apparatus.

The ambulance unit members share those quarters with fire department colleagues who handle suppression duties.

But Lee Genser, captain of the department’s Ambulance Unit, said in an interview there isn't enough room for the fire company members and ambulance unit members to operate properly out of the same facility. 

He noted that the current station has limited storage and training spaces and added that bunks for overnight shifts are in short supply. 

“Overall, it’s a really good thing for the community,” Genser said of the proposed station. " … If we’re able to keep more EMTs and paramedics inside the station more hours a day, it means the ambulances will respond faster to any emergency.”

Community members who live near the station's proposed location cited concerns about traffic and the project's cost. Some called for a study to determine the potential traffic impacts in the area.

“We want you to have what you want, but this is not the place for it,” Adrienne Vaultz, 65, of Great Neck, said at the hearing.

Vaultz said some community members feel like the project is “being jammed down our throats” and said the potential for more traffic raises concerns because many children live in the area.

Jay Chagrin, a Village of Thomaston trustee who lives in the fire district, said he’s concerned his taxes would increase and asked fire officials to consider reconfiguring another station to increase space.

“I’m just saying there’s got to be an alternative to making a $10 million building when economics are so tight for these times,” Chagrin said.

He added that he didn't "want to worry about children on Cumberland" because of added ambulance traffic.

Fire commissioners said the district explored many possibilities for a potential location and determined the property at Cumberland Avenue, which the district owns, is the best option.

The proposed 10,366-square-foot station would include four bays, multiple bunk rooms, exercise rooms, conference rooms and decontamination areas.

The fire district covers about 10 square miles and 11 villages, department officials said. The ambulance unit responded to 1,230 calls last year, according to Genser. He said there are about 35 dedicated EMS personnel in the department and numerous firefighters also have medical training.

The district already has $1.7 million on hand for the project, Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Commissioner Mark Sauvigne said at the meeting.

After the meeting, he said he would support a traffic study, which could delay the bond vote. Sauvigne noted the final determination about the study would be made at a commissioner’s meeting next week.

Proposed EMS Station in Lake Success

  • Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department officials are seeking $10 million in bonding for the project 
  • The proposed 10,366-square-foot EMS station would be two floors with four bays for the unit's vehicles
  • A special election is scheduled for June 6
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