Merrill leaders scrambling to find new fire station property - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Merrill leaders scrambling to find new fire station property


The city of Merrill's firefighters need a new home, and city council members are trying to find a place to house them, without breaking the bank.

"I mean, it's really old," Merrill Mayor Bill Bialecki said of Fire Station 1, where all of the city's firefighters will now be housed.

That's because the council voted last week to sell Fire Station 2, located on the city's west side, and use the money for a new or remodeled fire station.

"So we have to be pretty aggressive with getting a new facility set up for them," he said.

Remodeling Fire Station 1 is now out of the picture because the station can't be remodeled and operate at the same time. Now, city council members are rushing to find a property to build a new fire station on.

Some say a vacant lot across from Merrill's post office is the best bet. 

"It's centrally located in the city and the traffic flow in and out of there both east and west and north, it's an ideal spot for it," Bialecki said.

The lot sits in between the city's two current fire stations, but some city council members say officials haven't looked at every option. At Tuesday night's meeting, city leaders said purchasing that particular property would cost about $250,000 dollars.

Mayor Bialecki told Newsline 9 building costs for the new station will be around $4 million dollars.

"It's centrally located. I think we'd have good response times from there," Merrill Fire Chief Bob Odegard said of the location.

For now, Odegard said he and his staff will have no problem working out of one central station, but they need upgraded facilities sooner than later. He said as long as the city finds a property to build on in the next few weeks, a new station could be completed by 2014.

City Council members plan to meet next week to decide what to do.


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