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Ishpeming fire hall plans under discussion

April 11, 2013
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT - Journal Staff Writer ( , Journal Ishpeming Bureau

ISHPEMING - The Ishpeming City Council discussed the current condition of the city's fire hall - and its future - at its meeting Wednesday.

The city has been regularly monitoring the condition of the support structure below the fire hall apparatus room floor. According to Ishpeming City Manager Jered Ottenwess, three new cracks were recently observed - one quite noticeable.

According to Ottenwess, at its most recent meeting, the Ishpeming Building Authority passed three resolutions regarding the fire hall. Most importantly, it moved to ask the city council to do whatever is necessary to get the Ishpeming Volunteer Fire Department into a temporary facility - a move already planned because of construction work on the city's ongoing Partridge Creek restoration project, Ottenwess said.

Article Photos

The floor of the apparatus room, which the fire trucks currently sit on, is becoming more and more structurally unsafe and has the Ishpeming Building Authority concerned. The fire hall recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. When the floor was first built, it was made to house horse-drawn trucks, but now holds two large fire trucks, which is causing it to crack in the basement below. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)

"The fire hall would be out of service for some time because of the project, so the Building Authority is asking council to make sure that we are doing everything we can to get them moved as soon as possible out of that hall," Ottenwess said.

The building authority also resolved to start the process of getting quotes for improvements at the temporary facility on Carson Road, which is the recycling building and compost site for the city, Ottenwess said.

"We are asking the council to start pricing for those improvements at the building that are going to be necessary to potentially house the fire department through the winter, which is not heated or insulated," Ottenwess said.

Ottenwess added the building authority asked the council to authorize getting planning and design work under way, which would include consulting services to an extent yet to be determined, to start filling in the basement of the current fire hall.

"The reason we were doing crack monitoring in the first place was to see if there were cracks and now that there are new cracks should be a reason for concern here," said Department of Public Works Director and City Engineer John Kangas. "That's why we need to get the trucks off of that floor as soon as possible to avoid something possibly a lot more expensive."

The council unanimously approved a motion directing Ottenwess and Kangas to orchestrate filling in the fire hall basement, moving the trucks, reconstructing the recycling center so it's suitable for the trucks. The motion also authorized them to solicit bids for the necessary work.

In other business, the council:

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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