Tupper moving forward with emergency building

TUPPER LAKE – The village is moving forward on the path to building a new home for the local emergency services crews.

The village board agreed last week to a new contract with Hueber Breuer, the company that completed a feasibility study last year on the various options for a new fire hall. The village will pay $7,000 to the firm to use its services as project manager through the village putting the new building to a referendum.

If the referendum passes, Hueber Breuer will get another $7,000.

The village already paid the firm $24,800 for its work on the feasibility study.

Village Trustee Rick Donah, who has been leading the push for a new building, told the board last week that the process stalled for a little while through the holidays, but he’s working to start it back up again. Mark Arsenault, former mayor and current fire department member, came to a December board meeting to encourage the board not to let the issue get stalled again.

Donah has also been waiting for an answer from the local rescue squad, which tabled a decision on whether it will be on board with a new building at its January meeting. The rescue squad was in the midst of a fundraising campaign to renovate its current building when the new push for an emergency services building began last year.

The village police department will likely be included in a new building in addition to the fire department. Both the fire and police squads’ current homes have serious safety and maintenance issues.

The next step is to design and put together engineering plans for the building, Donah said.

Village board members interviewed design consultants Thursday and Friday. Casagrain didn’t expect the board to make a decision on which one they will go with, since they didn’t plan to have a quorum for the interviews.

Donah is organizing an Emergency Services Building Committee, which will make a final recommendation to the village on the location of the new building and the type of materials needed.

The new committee will be made up largely of the same people on the committee that worked on the feasibility report, Donah said, though new village Trustee David “Haji” Maroun, who is also a member of the fire department, will join the committee.

Donah said he’s hoping to put the building to a public vote in the early spring.

At the village board meeting, Ron LaScala asked if it would be possible for a local contractor to build an emergency services building on its own, then lease it to the village. Donah said that’s an option, and if someone wants to build it, the village would likely be willing to lease it. But he said the first step is to design the building.