HYANNIS – Hyannis Fire Department officials have shaved $1 million off the cost of a new fire headquarters and tomorrow voters in the Hyannis Fire District will get another say on whether the project moves forward.
The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1 at 7 p.m. at Barnstable High School.
Fire officials have been working to reduce the cost of the project since the March 5 district meeting when a $19.8 million proposal did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority to pass.
Paul V. Griffin Jr. of Construction Monitoring Services, the fire district’s project manager, said that they heard loud and clear from voters at the district meeting that the building be scaled down.
Toward that end, they have removed the third floor and cut the cost of the project by $1 million. They also put two district properties up for sale with the goal of using the profits to further cut the cost of the project to voters.
In order to reduce the cost of the project by $1 million, over the past three months, Griffin said, the building has been redesigned as a two-story instead of a three-story building and the building has been reduced in size by 5,000 square feet.
In addition, two Hyannis properties, 2.8 acres of vacant commercially-zoned land on Pitcher’s Way and a historic fire station on Scudder Avenue, have been listed for sale.
Fire officials were hoping to get offerings totalling $2 million from the sale of the two properties based on an appraisal.
But bids were opened Friday morning and came up about $1 million short of that $2 million goal, Griffin said.
The only bid for the Pitcher’s Way lot came in at $615,000 and the high bid out of five for the Scudder property came in at $225,000.
The Pitcher’s Way property had been appraised by the district at $1.4 million.
Griffin said he plans to recommend to the board of Hyannis Fire Commissioners to go to the voters and ask for an amendment to the $18,960,000 that is presently on the warrant to reduce it by $1,225,000.
The reduction would be made with the hope that when the properties are re-advertised for sale that the bids will come in higher.
“We need to do more marketing,” Griffin said. He said he believes the district can be $1 million for the Pitcher’s Way property.
He said if the amendment goes through and the district does not get $1,225,000 for the properties then the fire chief and the architect would have to make more cuts in order to meet the new figure.
Griffin said that voters had constructive comments at the March district meeting.
“Almost everyone agreed they needed a new station. That’s not an issue subject to debate as far as we can see,” Griffin said.
“Biggest thing I saw that night was that they felt like they may get scammed with this land deal that the land once it was sold later on, that the money might be used to buy more equipment and put new firefighters on and not go against the debt of the new building,” Griffin said.
Griffin said the other thing voters were outspoken about at the district meeting was that the scale of the building was too big and the third floor needed to be removed. “I think they were right. We did a two-story building. We wanted to make sure that this time we were successful.”
Griffin said he believes the project officials have done their due diligence.
“I have scrutinized this thing back and forth to see if there’s any rock that we haven’t overturned, I think that this is probably as tight as we can get if they want a building long-term that we don’t have to come back to voters in ten years and say now we need more space.
“With the standard normal growth that Hyannis has had in the last ten years, we think this building can go long-term,” he said.
Griffin said a recent letter from the Hyannis Civic Association indicates they are on board with the new plans with the exception of the appartatus garage and whether it is faced with brick.
“I think we’ve made a major turnaround on the opionion on this project,” he said.