State gives Annapolis $250,000 to renovate Eastport Fire Hall

Agency's goal is to add space, expand services

April 18, 2004|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

Annapolis has received $250,000 from the state to help renovate the Eastport Fire Hall, a move that should help the city fulfill its goal of expanding paramedic and firefighter services.

The money will be used for design work and comes from the state budget, which was approved late Monday.

"We need more space and need to develop the station that can serve our needs for the next decade," said Mayor Ellen O. Moyer. "This is a good first step."

The fire hall, in the 900 block of Bay Ridge Ave., was built in the early 1960s. As many as nine firefighters work there, as well as volunteers. The firefighters respond to calls throughout the city but have primary responsibility for the Eastport area, said Battalion Chief Mike Lonergan, a department spokesman.

The Eastport station is the smallest of the city's three stations, city and Fire Department officials say. Space has been lost at the station since the department added a women's locker room and shower facilities, Lonergan said. "It's getting quite worn out, and it's inadequate for the number of people we have there," he said.

Space will get even tighter in the near future. The department wants to add weights and exercise equipment for a fitness room, Lonergan said.

Volunteers said they were pleased with the allocation, although Betty Pilkerton, president of the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, said the group was unclear what role it would have with the department.

The group has leased space at the fire hall since the 1970s. There are seven full-time volunteers, who do not fight fires but hold social and fund-raising events at the station. The group also owns two firetrucks and two ambulances that are used by firefighters, Pilkerton said.

But volunteers have complained that they are being squeezed out of the station by paid firefighters and lack space to hold fund-raisers.

Pilkerton was hoping volunteers would get more space, but said neither she nor any other volunteers had been consulted about renovations. "We'd like to be included," she said.

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