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Hobart set to break ground on new fire station

The new facility will replace the more than 60-year-old station No. 1

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March 10, 2023

HOBART – A dream years in the making is finally coming to fruition in the Village of Hobart – replacing its more than 60-year-old fire station.

The groundbreaking for the new Fire Station No. 1 is set for this spring – marking the first time in a generation a building has been constructed to serve village operations.

The facility, which is expected to be operational before the end of the year, will replace the existing facility on South Pine Tree Road.

“Fire Hall No. 1 was built in the early 1960s,” Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said. “It has structural issues, it was old and had outlived its usefulness and was going to end up being more costly to put money into it. And simply (the increased) need for trucks and better equipment, it was getting harder and harder to fit some of the trucks into the building.”

Protecting a growing community
Kramer said the new facility will be a marked improvement in the village’s commitment to public safety, with a number of secondary benefits.

“First of all, we invested heavily in the IT component – we were trying to look down the road and have a top computer and alarm system (for years to come),” he said.

Aaron Kramer

Kramer said the new fire station will better serve the residents of Hobart, which has seen its population more than double since 2002.

With the significant increase in population the village has seen in the last several decades, Kramer said there is a need for more volunteer firefighters, equipment and facilities in order to effectively protect residents and businesses.

The project also includes replacing the village’s severe weather sirens.

“We are also going to replace the severe weather siren on that building and bring in the latest, most modern storm siren at the same time replacing the sirens elsewhere in the community,” he said.

Kramer said the new building will be more than just a fire station.

“We are exploring the possibility of it being a polling place in time for the 2024 election season,” he said. “In the event of a catastrophe involving our current village office, we would use the building as an emergency operations center.”

Kramer said the village is optimistic that at some point in the near future, there will be an ambulance station based out of the new facility to better serve the residents of the rapidly growing community.

He said it would provide emergency ambulance services 24/7 – a much-needed service.

Fire Chief Jerry Lancelle said the new fire station is a long time coming.

“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” he said. “Our old station is extremely outdated, and it’s too small. We have no room around our current apparatus bay. We have no room to maneuver around trucks in there. And the building is in poor shape.”

Lancelle said the new facility will also support further growth.

“It’s being set up for eventual full-time staff,” he said. “So, it is going to have dorm rooms and a full kitchen, along with a workout room and a full decontamination (for) when you come back from fire calls.”

Jerry Lancelle

Lancelle and Kramer said they hope the new facilities will draw in new volunteer firefighters.

Lancelle said the department is just short of its 35-volunteer goal.

Kramer said the current facility was approved by Town of Hobart voters in the 1960s with an estimated budget between $9,000 to $15,000.

He said the addition was needed to house two pieces of firefighting equipment, following the Hobart and Oneida Fire Departments merger.

“We are in 2023, so to say we have received our money’s worth on that initial investment would be an understatement,” he said.

In the 60 years since, Kramer said the town, now a village, has grown significantly in terms of population and the amount of property that needed protection.

Prices have also increased.

Kramer said the new fire station was approved late last year by the Hobart Village Board, with a budget of $4.8 million, which will be funded by a floating 20-year bond.

He said property owners shouldn’t see a financial impact until 2026-27.

Bayland Buildings was hired to design and bid out the project – and they will serve as project manager as construction is underway.

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