Saturday March 2, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Village and department officials involved in an effort to build a new firehouse for the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Department hope to defray the cost through an aggressive capital campaign over the course of 2013.

Although downsized from original plans, the envisioned replacement for the department’s current, cramped quarters is expected to cost about $2.7 million. To finance the entire amount, village residents would see a double-digit tax increase.

That tax impact is unacceptable to both the department and village, according to Cambridge Trustee Rick Lederer-Barnes, a firehouse project committee member.

In a recent emailed exchange, Lederer-Barnes said organizers hoped to roughly halve the project’s net tax impact on village residents. Recent informational meetings (the next of which is scheduled for today, Saturday, March 2, at 10 a.m. at the current firehouse at 11 W. Main St.) have been held not only to inform the public, "but to get their ideas on how to fund it," Lederer-Barnes said. He said the committee was looking for people with experience soliciting donations and running a capital campaign, or those who might know other sources of revenue.

"We’ve already received a lot of good ideas in the first two meetings, and we’re hoping we’ll get even more in the next two," Lederer-Barnes said. The presentation will also be taken on the road to each township that the department serves.

All residents within the department’s fire protection area, and each town supervisor, have been invited and many have attended recent meetings. The last scheduled informational meeting will be Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m.

Issues with the department’s current building include its limited size, which has necessitated "stacking" custom-sized truncated trucks, and its location that requires travel through busy intersections.

A standard firetruck today is some 12 feet longer than the largest truck in the 1960s, the era in which the firehouse was originally constructed.

The final proposed design for the replacement firehouse totals 11,950 square feet; roughly 3,000 less than original plans.

The 10-acre parcel on Gilbert Street/Route 313 planned for the future firehouse was purchased in January 2003 for $35,000 using donated funds.

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