Rising costs forces Hebron to rethink fire station project

2013-08-20T21:15:00Z 2013-08-22T00:08:37Z Rising costs forces Hebron to rethink fire station projectPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

HEBRON | A fire station project that was growing like wildfire without any accompanying funds to pay for it has been rebooted, and the start of construction has been pushed back to spring.

The Hebron Town Council voted Tuesday to create a special fund in the budget for the $150,000 contributed by the Porter County Board of Commissioners for the first station addition, which is proposed to include a bay to house an ambulance for the south county area.

The money will be there when the town is ready. In the meantime, the council met Monday with the Hebron Redevelopment Commission, the Fire Department and Abonmarche, architect for the project, to get everyone on the same page, council President Don Ensign said.

Ensign said the project originally was expected to cost about $40,000 but grew to about $280,000 and then to more than $300,000. After factoring in the prevailing wages, the cost was estimated at about $416,000.

That's when officials decided to get everyone together to figure out which facets were "needs" and which were "wants."

One of the features added to the project were air lines, which Ensign said would not normally be associated with the response time of the trucks but are needed to keep the trucks' brakes pumped up to respond when an emergency comes in.

The city also wants to expand the kitchen area of the station because the building is used as a warming center in the winter.

A goal of seeking bids in the fall and trying to start construction before the end of the year was pushed back while the Fire Department and Abonmarche develop the list of needs for the station.

The list will be presented to the Redevelopment Commission, which has agreed to fund anything not covered by the county contribution or grants being sought by consultant Jim Mooney.

Mooney plans to seek a Homeland Security grant to increase the potential funding for the station to $600,000.

The list is to be ready in 30 days and will be given to Mooney after approval by the commission. The commission will take out a loan for the remaining cost and pay it back using tax increment financing income.

The plan is to seek bids in January.

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