Firehouse plans get Princeton approval

Princeton Packet
10 March, 1989 (~estimated)

Firehouse plans get Princeton approval

The Princeton Township and Borough governing bodies have given unanimous approval to an architect’s drawing for a new fire-house to be built on Witherspoon Street neat to the Valley Road building.

The drawings, by the Princeton firm of Fulmer and Wolfe, will now be inspected by the Princeton Regional Planning Board as its June 7 Meeting according to Fire Chief and Borough Councilman Mark Freda.

They will also be discussed today. Tuesday, by officials from the township ‘and School Board Business Administrator Robert Raider. Members of Princeton Township Committed and Princeton Borough Council got their first look at The proposal: Monday night and received it enthusiastically.

So did the head of the fire company that will move in once the structure is built.

“We’re very proud of it,” commented Eric Karch, chief of Mercer Engine Company Number 3, now housed in a Chambers Street facility. “It provides everything we need,” he added, noting that the architects considered both current and future needs.

The project was financed by a S2 million bond, according to Fire Chief Mark Freda. It will be paid for jointly by the township and borough.

The firehouse will be built on a 20-car parking lot adjacent to the Valley Road Building un Witherspoon Street. It is bounded on the other side by the Williams Construction Company.

A 1984 report stated that the firehouse on Chambers Street should be closed down. to be replaced by one ,built either at the chosen location on near Shun. and Cherry Hill Roads.

The Chambers Street firehouse will be used until the new structure is built. The Chambers Street facility, according to the report, offers inadequate parking for firefighters. Also, Mr. Freda said, delivery trucks sometimes block access to the facility.

The new site also complements the other two firehouses geographically better than the Chambers Street location, officials said. The other two fire companies are located on North Harrison Street and on Chestnut Street behind Hoagie Haven.

In November, a swap was finalized between the township and borough and the Princeton Regional Board of Education, which gave the municipalities the deed for the parking lot. Princeton Township gave the school board a 14-acre tract adjacent to the Johnson Park School off Rosedale Road in exchange.

Board members have expressed an interest in using that land for ball fields or other recreational needs. The Johnson Park School, closed early this decade, may reopen for the 1991-92 school year.

If all goes as planned, construction on the new firehouse will begin in November, according to Mr. Freda.

As introduced by Bill Fulmer of Fulmer and Wolfe Monday night, the new firehouse would be a which would be built in alignment with the Valley Road building and the Williams site.

The first floor would contain four bays for engines — there are two engines at the Chambers location, but more may be needed in the future, officials said —  as well as a beverage room, a lounge with fireplace and a television. There would be a kitchen and public toilets, all to be separated from the engine room by a wall.

There would be storage space in the back for equipment.

The second floor would contain the radio dispatch center, from where operators could view the engine bay area as well as both directions down Witherspoon Street.

The area would be connected by radio to the other two companies. There will also be a formal meeting room, as well as another area for toilets, showers and other personal amenities.

The 140-member volunteer department may someday become a part or full-time company, which would necessitate overnight stays, officials noted.

Parking would be behind the Valley Road buildings and the firehouse.

Next for the project is the design phase, from which an exact construction cost estimate will be determined. Construction documents will be written, and the project will be sent out to bid, Mr. Freda said. That, of course, is all contingent on the Planning Board giving the proposal.

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