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Bedford Daily Voice serves Bedford, Bedford Hills & Katonah
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Katonah FD Proposes $3 Million Bond for Renovations

KATONAH, N.Y. - The Katonah Fire Department will ask residents to approve a $3 million bond to help renovate its half-century old firehouse.

The building, located at 65 Bedford Road, has not had significant work done since its construction in 1958, apart from a 60-foot expansion in 1997.  If the project gets the approval of Katonah Fire District voters, it will address a number of specific safety issues at the firehouse.

“The existing apparatus floor is unstable and actually rocks when the newer heavy fire engines are run out of the fire house,” said Fire Commissioner Hank Bergson, referring to the 54-year-old engine room floor. It is cracking in several areas, he said, so replacing it is necessary to prevent any sort of disaster.

According to a press release, the firehouse was built in the footprint of the old Katonah High School and that is another risk factor for floor collapse.

Bergson said that, among other improvements, the interior of the building will be repainted, potholes in the black top filled and the emergency generator repaired. Repairing the generator is necessary to provide people with suitable shelter in the event of a natural disaster, said Katonah Fire Commissioner Bob Hickey.

Also included in the proposal is an expansion of the firehouse annex for a new training facility, which Bergson said will allow firefighters to train on a more regular and supervised basis.

“Our new firefighters will have this in-house facility to become familiar with firefighting evolutions, tools and protective gear that will lead to greater fire ground safety,” he said.

The renovation proposal will be detailed at a public meeting at the firehouse on April 11. According to a press release issued by the department, voters will be asked to give the Fire District authority to spend no more than $3 million on the project. Of that, $2.5 million would come from issuing bonds with a 10-year maturity. The district's capital reserves will cover the rest. A referendum date will be determined at the meeting.

The department stated in a press release that the estimated increased cost to the average Katonah property owner will be about $108.12 in their 2012-2013 tax bill. The department intends for the renovations to start in late summer and be completed by the end of the year.

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