FIRE STATION Market value is less than expected

One option is to build a new station at its current site.
BOARDMAN -- An appraisal of property occupied by the main fire station doesn't offer an immediate solution to the building's future.
The appraisal by Gregory Vantell Associates of the township puts the market value of the U.S. Route 224 property, including the station, fire prevention offices and road department maintenance garage, at $810,000.
The market value drops to $540,000 if the maintenance garage property is removed from the equation.
"It's less than what I was expecting," said Trustee Tom Costello. "It would be of more value if we had that corner."
In March, MS Consultants of Youngstown recommended that the Route 224 fire station be replaced and estimated the cost at $4.1 million.
That report said that even with renovations, the station, which was built in 1926, won't meet the department's needs for the next 20 years.
The MS report didn't consider possible sites for a new station, and company representatives attributed some of the $4.1 million cost to the need to build a new station on the same site while the old station continues to function. The work would have to be done in phases.
Besides the township-owned property, the corner of Route 224 and Southern Boulevard also is home to a monument shop and another storefront owned by a Poland family. That owner had agreed to have the property appraised at the township expense.
Costello said the township then learned from an opinion from the Mahoning County prosecutor's office that the township can't pay for an appraisal of property it doesn't own.
"I'm not sure where we're going to go from here," Costello said.
The choices
The choices regarding the station are to renovate the station or tear it down and build a new station, both of which would be expensive, or to build a new station in another location, he said.
Costello said he had hoped that the appraisal would show the U.S. 224 site could sell for enough to cover much of the cost of a property purchase for a new location.
Elaine Mancini, trustee chairwoman, said trustees are likely to discuss the issue at a future meeting. She declined to discuss the appraisal until that meeting.
Trustee Kathy Miller said she wants to know whether the government center property on Market Street is large enough to accommodate a new fire station.
Moving at least the fire chief and fire prevention offices to quarters near the government center would make sense, she said.
The township zoning office, housed in the government center, and fire prevention often deal with the same people who are coming to get plans approved, Miller reasons.
"I'm just trying to get enough facts to know what makes the most sense for the township," she said.

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