School Board Says “No” To a Fire Station Site

2 September, 1987 (~estimated)

School Board Says “No” To a Fire Station Site

The Princeton Regional Board of Education last week refused to permit a new Princeton firehouse to be built on the parking lot it owns on Witherspoon Street adjacent to the Valley Road Building.

Citing a concern for safety as well as economic considerations, the Board rejected the Planning Board’s preferred site, one of three being considered for the new firehouse.

The other sites are in the – same vicinity, on the parking lot next to the Township police station and behind the Township Public Works garage on Terhune Road. The Township Facilities Committee, which has been dealing with the site selection for this first firehouse in the Township, was expected to meet Wednesday morning. Councilman Mark Freda, the Borough fire chief and a member of the committee, said the Fire Department would tell committee members that it prefers the police parking lot location. The Facilities Committee is charged with recommending a site for the fire station to Township Committee.

Mr. Freda was negative about the Terhune Road location, -saying that the Fire Department could build only the garage part of the firehouse now, and could not complete the structure until the Public Works Department moved elsewhere. This could be a matter of years, he said.

In the discussion that preceded the vote to reject the use of the Valley Road Building parking lot, Board member Allen Grossmen said the firehouse would add another element of emergency traffic to the area, where many school children walk. Board member Michael Tomalin  said he didn’t feel the frequency of fire calls warranted this concern, but stressed the economics of the decision.

“The usefulness of the building revolves around the park-ing on site,” he said. “Even if some of the parking were replaced by building a new lot on the Valley Road side of the building, ten spaces would still I be lost.”

Board member Ann McGoldrick said, “The Board’s first I priority is managing its own: property and its responsibility to the taxpayer.”

Mr. Freda said he would like the Township’s decision on the police station site te be made at its next meeting, scheduled for September 21.

In describing the new fire-home, Mr. Freda said it.would be 12-13,000 square feet in size and would contain three double bays, a meeting room, recreation room, chief’s office, and radio room. The cost is estimated at $1.6 million.

The Borough is planning to sell the current Chambers Street firehouse once the new one is in operation. Borough and Township representatives are scheduled to form a sub-committee, when the new site is selected, to work out an agreement on the financing of the facility.

—Myrna K. Bearse

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