By Krystal J. Carman

Staff Writer



Plans for a new $600,000 Emergency Services Facility in Chelsea are near completion, and construction could begin within the next few months.

“We should be seeing some activity within the next two months,” Chelsea volunteer firefighter Ed Geiger said Wednesday. “Even if it’s just ground work or pouring the pad, something should be started.”

The architectural firm Kinslow, Keith and Todd Inc., of Tulsa, was chosen to draw up the plans. According to Chelsea officials, the city may be able to obtain bids for the construction of the building by next month.

“We could possibly be bidding by June 1,” Mayor Kenny Weast said.

Funding for the new facility comes from an extension of a one-cent sales tax voters approved in March.

The current fire station is a 40-year-old building that only houses three of the department’s 12 trucks. The other trucks are parked around town at other municipal buildings such as the gas authority and the old police department.

Storage has also created problems for the department. Firefighters keep what gear they can inside lockers, with the rest tucked in various places, including “a hole in the wall.”

Age has deteriorated the current building, and upkeep had become costly, according to Fire Chief Alan Harris. Costs to keep some of the fire trucks inside the old police department had also skyrocketed. In December, the gas bill for that building alone was $1,200 — which the fire department paid.

Being able to gain access to structures across the railroad tracks had also been a nuisance. According to Geiger, most of the bigger structures in Chelsea are located across the tracks, which creates problems when a train travels through the town.

The new building will be located on Olive Street on land where the city’s new waterworks building is currently housed. Those grounds will also house maintenance and the city’s new animal shelter.

The fire station plans call for five bays that can be exited in both directions, plenty of storage room, a meeting room, a kitchen, and room for expansion if the department ever acquires full-time firefighters.

The cost of hiring Kinslow, Keith and Todd, Inc., is $43,500, of which the city has already paid $13,000. This will include the preparation of the building plans, as well as the documents necessary for bidding.

Construction is scheduled to take approximately six to eight months, according to Geiger.

Contact Krystal J. Carman at newsed@swbell.net