Firehouse Proposals 'Realistic'

Ridgeway, Crownsville Areas Cited Byneall

February 07, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff writer

A proposal for new fire stations in Ridgeway and Crownsville was called "very realistic" by County Executive Robert R. Neall yesterday.

The fire department's request was part of three presentations made yesterday to the county's Planning Advisory Board, which makes recommendations on capital projects to the county executive.

In addition to fire officials, representatives from police and public works made their presentations to the board.

Neall, who will hear the board's recommendations in about three weeks, said not all of the requests will be approved. But he said he'll put special emphasis on projects that benefit communities and stimulate the local economy.

"I think the fire stations are very realistic. When you get tothe need for office space, or the renovations of headquarters, that's another issue," he said.

Gregory V. Nourse, a county budget analyst, said department heads requested $95 million in capital projects to be paid for by bond money. Neall has pledged to approve $60 million worth. Budget items approved by Neall also could be trimmed by the County Council in its budget review this spring.

Public Works Director Parker Andrews, who limited his request to $3 million in road improvements, warned the board that meeting federal requirements for storm water management could cost the county $5 million to $7 million over the next seven years.

Andrews said the Clean Water Act means jurisdictions of more than 250,000 residents must help clean up waterways by conducting studies to locate and crack down on illegal connections to public storm drainage systems.

For years, Andrews said, industries and developers have had to meet strict standards when connecting to sewers. But there has been no similar standards for storm drains, with the result that illegal discharges are common.

Finding them, and requiring those responsible to clean up their operations, could prove expensive and prompt lawsuits, he said.

Police Chief Robert Russell said he would like $259,000 in planning money to replace the antiquated Eastern District police station. He said no site has been selected, but he would like to see it built "in the Pasadena Roadarea," because that is a central corridor for the district.

Russell also wants $1.1 million over the next several years for a storage building behind police headquarters. The building would replace sevenrented trailers used to store evidence and recovered property, he said.

He also requested an indoor firing range that would cost an estimated $2.3 million. It would let officers, who must shoot twice a year, use a range at night and on weekends and clear up manpower and scheduling problems.

The outdoor range at the police academy is within earshot of a residential community, Russell said. "People who live nearby don't want us to fire at 10 o'clock at night or on Sunday afternoons," he noted.

Fire Chief Paul Haigley said fire-safety studies show a need for the new fire stations in Ridgeway and Crownsville. Communities more than 2 1/2 miles and more than five minutes from afire station were targeted as needing stations.

Haigley's capitalbudget request includes $469,000 to pay for preliminary plans for construction of both stations. He also requested $560,000 in planning money for renovations to fire department headquarters in Millersville.

The building, built in 1966 for 20 employees, now houses 77 employees and has major problems with its heating and ventilation system, Haigley said.

"We've got closet spaces that were converted into offices over there," he said.

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