Spotswood council will start process turning vacant property into firehouse


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SPOTSWOOD–Purchasing a vacant, boarded-up property for $382,671, Borough Council members discussed potential plans to turn unoccupied land into a new firehouse.

On Jan. 6, Spotswood council members approved a resolution containing the borough’s bill list to purchase the vacant property at 474 Main St.

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Mayor Edward Seely said the house located on the property is condemned, abandoned and covered in vegetation. It sits next to a PNC Bank across from the Spotswood Funeral Home.

Wanting to know the borough’s plans for the vacant property, resident Jackie Palmer asked the council for an update on the property during the March 2 council meeting.

Council President Larry Kraemer said the borough is looking at building a new firehouse on the property.

“As far as I am concerned it should be a firehouse. The old one is just not usable for what we need anymore. It’s old. It’s been around since 1960. It’s time to replace it,” Kraemer said.

Even though the borough purchased the property in early January, borough attorney Larry Sachs said the borough has technically only owned the property for about 30 days.

Palmer asked how long it will take to get a potentially new firehouse built.

“First of all, we have to commit to that property to make it a firehouse,” said Councilman Jose Rivera, the borough’s Office of Emergency Management coordinator.

Seely said he plans on meeting with Center State Engineering to discuss possible plans to tear down the abandoned house on the property.

“I think we also had discussed trying to get some kind of concept plan for them as to what can go on that site. So that is really the first step,” Sachs said.

If the borough commits to turning the property into a firehouse, Seely said the fire department wants to be involved in the planning process.

“The council has to say, OK, this property is going to be used or a firehouse. …  [The] next step will be getting to do some kind of concept engineering architecture firm to see how much it’s going to cost us, what’s going to fit there, what’s going to meet the requirements that we need by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), [and] what’s going to be required,” Riveria said.

Riveria said once the council makes a commitment to build a new firehouse, then it can start seeking grant funding to pay for the construction and design costs.

Kraemer and Riveria agree wutg turning the vacant property into a new firehouse.

“I don’t have an issue with that property becoming a firehouse, but my issue is the cost. I understand that we have to make a commitment to the property to get concepts to get the next steps going … [however] if we get back and it’s going to cost the residents $4 million, I am not for a new firehouse,” Councilman Charlie Spicuzzo said. “I’m going to be honest with you. if it’s that much money I’d rather put it on the ballot and let the residents tell me that they want the money spent on a new firehouse.”

Councilman Ted Ricci said personally he’d rather see a new building the borough’s Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services could share if the property is big enough to have a few ambulances and fire trucks in it.

“It’s pretty bad when you have some pieces of your equipment sitting outside in the weather, so that’s the issue that we are [dealing with] and you also have our gear going right down a vestibule in a hallway,” Riveria said. “Right now we have an issue that if our gear gets contaminated, we get blood on our gear, that gear is out of service. So that means that individual is out of service because that gear has to go out and get de-contaminated.”

Sachs said he will get in contact with Center State Engineering to find out if the site is feasible enough to have a firehouse build on it.

Contact Vashti Harris at

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