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The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department is facing a roadblock from the city Department of Transportation in their attempt to construct a new firehouse to replace their 100−year−old structure on Noel Avenue.
The agency said it is objecting to the new firehouse but has yet to specifically say why it is having reservations.
“We have concerns about the Broad Channel Volunteer Firehouse replacement proposal, which has been under review,” DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow said in an e−mail statement. “We have reached out to [the] Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Co. and will be discussing these concerns with them in the coming weeks.”
U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D−N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) secured $1 million for a new firehouse in 2005 through an omnibus transportation bill in Congress.
Those funds went through the DOT, but the agency has yet to approve the project.
The volunteer fire department bought land 12 years ago at the north end of Broad Channel to be used as the home for their new station.
Dan McIntyre, chief of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department, said Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy wants to schedule a meeting after Dec. 15 to discuss the situation with the volunteers.
He said time has taken a toll on the condition of the 100−year−old station.
“It’s constantly in need of repair, but I need every cent to put into the new building,” McIntyre said, noting that his group has $400,000 in an account to spend on the new firehouse.
Lew Simon, a Democratic district leader who has been involved with the firehouse since 1992, said he believed the project is being tied up because Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not want Weiner to receive credit for the allocation. Weiner is challenging Bloomberg for mayor next year.
“I personally think it’s political and the political swords should be put down,” Simon said. “The Broad Channel community deserves this firehouse. It’s long overdue.”
Eddie O’Hare, president of the volunteer fire department, declined to comment.
The volunteer fire department was formed in 1905 as a bucket brigade and moved into its current location in 1908.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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