NORTHFIELD — The process of expanding the village’s fire station is moving along, as Village Council authorized advertising for bids for construction of about 3,850 square feet of new space on the first floor and 2,720 square feet on the second floor.

The timetable calls for Council to perhaps award the contract at its Feb. 26 meeting. An early spring construction start is anticipated.

Randall Baker of Warren-based Baker Bednar & Snyder Associates said the firm has completed documents in the last couple of months after "excellent conversations" with Fire Chief Jason Buss, Law Director Brad Bryan and Village Engineer Richard Wasosky.

Buss said there have been "only minor tweaks" from preliminary plans which were unveiled last fall. Baker said the new estimated cost for the project is around $2.8 million, and the firm is committed to keeping the cost close to the original estimate of $2.64 million.

The new space would increase the size of the building, which was erected in 2003, to about 12,150 square feet. Buss has said funding could come from the city’s budget, Tax Increment Financing the village receives from MGM Northfield Park, or a bond issue.

The money the village gets from MGM Northfield Park is required under state law to be used for public infrastructure projects connected in some way with the Route 8 entertainment facility, and the fire department qualifies.

The architectural firm has recommended adding a vehicle bay on the north side of the building and lengthening the two existing bays by about 20 feet. Vehicles could be driven through both ends of all three bays.

Office space would be altered somewhat, a space for washing and storage of turnout gear would be created, living quarters and a laundry area on the second floor would be provided with a balcony added, and a training/workout area would be created toward the back of the building.

Baker explained the new apparatus bay would be erected first, with the office and living quarters renovation to follow. He added a sloped roof with shingles and concrete flooring are planned. Mayor Jesse Nehez said improved lighting outside also is in the plans.

Buss said once the expansion is completed the station should serve the community for many years to come, and further expansion should not be necessary as long as the station remains in that location.

Bryan said the architectural firm will be paid 9% of what the addition and renovations would cost, which would amount to about $300,000.

Other Business

Council favored the planning commission’s recommendation to allow four variances related to the Zaremba Group’s plans for a new Dollar General store at 10548-10554 Northfield Road.

The variances would waive the requirement for a parking lot landscaping island and interior landscaping, change the location of a waste facility and alter requirements for trees and plant quantities.

Service-Building Superintendent Jason Walters was presented a Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council recognition award by NOPEC’s Caitlin Albright. He has worked 24 years for the village.

Buss announced the village has received a $26,950 Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation grant to purchase several sets of protective garments for structural firefighting. Since the foundation started, it has granted more than $48 million to provide equipment, training and support to first responders.

Addressing some residents’ complaints about snow removal, Walters said streets are the village’s first priority, and senior citizens’ driveways come next, except in case of an emergency. He said about 200 seniors are signed up for driveway snow plowing. He urged residents "to be patient" about snow removal during winter storms.

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