KATONAH, N.Y. – Renovations to the Katonah Firehouse are about halfway done and will be completed before the annual carnival in June, said Fire District Commissioner Hank Bergson.
"We appear to be at or a little bit below budget. We're very happy with the progress," Bergson said. The department hopes to be finished around mid-April, he said.
The firehouse, at 65 Bedford Road, has been renovated only once before, with a 60-square foot expansion in 1997. Before this most recent project, the apparatus floor was unstable and cracking in several areas, partially because the building was constructed in 1958 in the footprint of the old Katonah High School.
The floor actually rocked when the newer heavier fire engines drove out of the firehouse, Bergson said. Currently, the department is using a temporary building set up in back of the property to house the department’s apparatus.
In a May 2012 referendum, residents of the Katonah district approved the $3 million bond resolution proposed in March, which passed with 65 percent of the vote. Of the $3 million, $2.5 million comes from issuing bonds with a 10-year maturity, while the district's capital reserves cover the rest.
Beginning that summer, construction workers repainted the interior of the building, filled potholes in the black top and repaired the house’s emergency generator. "The building effectively has been done," Bergson said. "We have a new floor in the apparatus bay. We're waiting for the cement to cure before we epoxy it.”
Continuing on, the project also includes the expansion of the firehouse annex to accommodate a new training facility, which will allow firefighters to train on a more regular and supervised basis and fulfill new state mandates for equipment and training.
The last step will be site restoration, Bergson said: getting the temporary apparatus tent down and taking care of tire tracks and ruts.
The set-up now with the temporary building is “not as convenient as it was, but it works," Bergson said.
The project has had little to no impact on the surrounding community, he said, except for minimally interfering with parking at the Katonah Memorial House next door.
As fire district employees and community members wait in the wings for construction to end, “I think most of them can see the progress and the construction work and what's happening, so they're really looking forward to getting it all done,” Bergson said.