Township officials have confirmed they are in talks with Simon Property Group to lease a portion of land for a new main fire station.
Administrator Jason Loree said the location is close to the intersection of Stadium Drive and Market Street, near the Sears entrance of Southern Park Mall, which is owned by the Indiana-based Simon Property Group.
Loree said the township is looking for land because it has submitted an application for a federal grant for a new main fire station. He said the low-cost lease could be advantageous to Simon Property Group because it likely would lower insurance ratings for the mall.
Fiscal Officer William Leicht estimates the cost of the station is between $2 million and $2.5 million.
At this time, the project depends on grant assistance, Loree said.
The main fire station, on the corner of U.S. Route 224 and Southern Boulevard, was built in the 1920s, said Fire Chief George Brown.
“In the past several years, it’s had everything from black mold to raw sewage coming into the basement area. The basement is not usable,” Brown said.
The station doesn’t meet some of the new national standards, Brown said. For example, firefighter gear should be in a room that has an air circulation system that is separate from the rest of the building so particulates aren’t spread throughout the station.
Some equipment is so big it can’t fit in the main station, he said.
“Those doors were built back almost before modernized fire equipment and an addition was put on, but not for the size of apparatus we have today,” Brown said.
He said the new location would be near the current main station, which is closest to the majority of emergency calls.
“It will still be in the center of Boardman Township and still have ready access to our main [travel] arteries,” Brown said.
“The firefighters have been told for 11 years that they would get a new main station, that the main station was going to be next and [the township] just ran out of money. It just never happened,” Brown said.
“It’s time to move,” he said.
The township should know if it received the federal grant in 18 months, Loree said. If it does receive the grant, a new station could be built as soon as two to three years from now, he added.