CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. — Millwood’s new firehouse, which was first proposed 13 years ago, was tentatively approved Tuesday night by the New Castle Planning Board.
The proposal is not completely finalized, but the Millwood Fire Department was given assurance that it can begin the next phase of the project without any risk of it being tied up.
The tentative agreement means that the department may now begin drawing up construction plans for the $9.6 million, 18,000-square-foot facility. The drawings will cost 40 percent of the overall budget, said Alan Schapiro, a Board of Fire Commissioners member.
“This is the assurance that we needed, and we’re very grateful,” said Hala Makowska, chair of the Board of Fire Commissioners. If the department was not given the go ahead Tuesday, Makowska said the project may have been delayed another two months.
The only outstanding issues – overflow parking, wetland mitigation, and landscaping improvements – were not deemed substantive enough to hold up the project. Lester Steinman, an adviser to the Planning Board, said the issues could be resolved with a 20-minute meeting.
“There’s no doubt we’re going to approve this project,” said Planning Board member Tom Curley. “It doesn’t sound like this is a great leap of faith we’re taking here, It doesn’t sound like there’s any risk whatsoever.”
Until recently moving to a temporary station on Route 134, the Millwood Fire Department had been operating out of a firehouse on Millwood Road that was built in 1924. In 1990, an engineering study determined that the station was beyond repair and recommended that it be demolished. It underwent several renovations before the department moved out for good.
In 2011, residents in the Millwood fire district voted to approve up to $13.95 million in spending for the new firehouse. Makwoska said the new facility, which she estimates to have a 50-year lifespan, will help the department with bringing in new volunteers.
“I enthusiastically support this,” said Millwood resident Sarah Brewster. “It’s been a long journey; it’s time.”
Makowska hopes to break ground on the new site in the fall and to have the station completed by 2014, which would be the department's 80th anniversary.