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Millwood Fire District Targets Summer Construction

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. - Progress was made toward approval of plans for the new Millwood Firehouse on Tuesday when district officials met with the New Castle Planning Board.

A near $10 million bond for the 18,000 square-foot building was approved in April. Officials have since been working out the kinks to have the plans approved in order to begin construction by the summer.

"As we move through the next steps of the process, as a board we would like to authorize the architects to start construction drawings so that they can actually catch up to the civil engineering drawings," said Millwood Fire Commissioner Hala Makowska.

With lengthy planning and bidding processes on the horizon, followed by an estimated 16-18 months on construction, Makowska hoped to get a sense of how close or how far off the district is from beginning the process.

While the two sides agreed on many issues brought before the board on Tuesday at Town Hall, Town Planner David Brito offered feedback to Makowska and other fire district officials on slight changes he would like to see made to the plans.

In order to prevent lighting from the firehouse from spilling onto neighboring properties, Brito suggested implementing additional screening, possibly with trees and plants.

“It’s really just clipping the corner there, but at certain points it’s about two-foot onto (the neighboring property),” said Brito. The planning board also recommended dimming the lights at a certain time, but still rig them to automatically turn back on during an emergency situation.

Also discussed at the meeting was the firehouse's siren location, a parking management plan to determine if the proposed spaces are enough, fence landscaping for aesthetic purposes, and the need for a quantitative noise analysis.

While she does not believe noise will be an issue, Makowska said she understands the need for empirical evidence. Brito suggested that in order to reduce noise, the firehouse should limit truck idling, hold no outdoor training, and mute the siren between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The two sides will meet again on March 6 after the district has had time to incorporate the changes suggested by Brito and the planning board. 

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