27 January, 1984
Time has come to find new home for Mercer Engine Co.
The time has come for Princeton Borough and Township to move Mercer Engine Co. No. 3 from its venerable, yet outdated and crumbling, home on Chambers Street.
The word that the main floor of this 52-year-old firehouse may not be safe to hold 25-ton pieces of apparatus comes as an added impetus to get moving on the solution to a problem which someday could cost a property owner his building or even someone’s life.
Tests are being made this week to determine if the floor of the firehouse has deteriorated enough to be unsafe for the fire trucks it has to house. One of the company’s trucks has already been moved to another firehouse to avoid any possible catastrophe.
But this problem points to a larger one that needs to be solved — finding a new home for the fire company.
The Chambers Street firehouse has become hemmed in by development and the resulting traffic, and when construction begins on the Collins Development Corp. ’s parking garage down the street, traffic jams will become worse.
Princeton Township officials have been anxious to have a firehouse in their municipality for many years — all three Princeton firehouses are now in the borough. Now is the chance to solve all of these problems.
The island of land near the township’s municipal garage is the best spot for a new firehouse. The location — bordered by the Terhune Road extension, Route 206, Mount Lucas Road and Cherry Hill Road — is close enough to downtown Princeton to allow quick response to the borough and also affords easy access to Route 206, Valley Road and Mount Lucas Road for reaching township locations. Firefighters could get to the station easily and can get their equipment out in a variety of directions without having to fight built up traffic.
A new firehouse would be a natural addition to what has become a township municipal center, with the police headquartered in Township Hall, the municipal offices across the street in the Valley Road Building and the garage close at hand.
And the sale of the borough’s property on Chambers Street — a prime office location — would certainly help that town s contribution toward the construction of a new facility.
But the time has come. The problems with the firehouse floor were reported to borough officials 16 years ago, but only now has anyone had the sense to take action. Let’s not wait to find the Chambers Street firehouse become surrounded by gridlock when the time come to fight a fire.
The two municipalities should begin right away to move Mercer Engine Co. No. 3.