With a new addition to GlobalFoundries in the planning stages and the recent adoption of form-based code zoning for the downtown area, Malta is growing by leaps and bounds.
With that anticipated growth in mind, the fire companies of Round Lake and Malta Ridge, which serve the town of Malta, are rolling out plans for another fire station in the downtown area and are putting together and action plan to make that happen sooner rather than later.
The new station is still in the planning stages, but a letter of intent to purchase two acres in Parade Ground Village for the new station has been filed.
“We’re putting this on the fast track,” said Fred Sievers, president at the Round Lake Fire Department.
The two fire companies have one main station and one substation each, which effectively cover the town of Malta in the north for Malta Ridge and in the south for the Round Lake Fire Department. Both companies are volunteer-based and count about 60 members in their ranks, though Sievers said with the expansion paid labor might be in the future.
Sievers said both companies started talking about the need for a new fire station around three years ago when the explosion of growth in the downtown area began, particularly the five-story Ellsworth Commons complex. There is only one nearby fire truck with a 75-foot ladder needed to reach the upper floors of that building, and it’s located at the Round Lake station.
“It is tall enough to reach the fifth floor of that building, but it is a lot of work and not very safe for the firefighters,” Sievers said.
Malta Ridge has ordered a new, $1.2 million 100-foot ladder truck that is expected to arrive in early April. “
To plan and build the new station, a third company, The Fire Companies of Malta, was formed. It consists of three people from each fire company. The sole purpose for the company is to facilitate the purchase of the property in Parade Ground Village and ensure the building of the new fire station and its future maintenance.
With the new station, it us unlikely the two substations would no longer be needed. The two companies formed a joint committee consisting of five members from each company to determine what would be done with the two substations. The Malta Ridge substation is on Route 9 near the Malta Community Center and the Round Lake substation is on Taddeo Road.
“The two substations will no longer be fire stations,” said Sievers. “We’re at the point now where construction costs are so high, that it may make sense not to duplicate that space in a new building. That’s the tradeoff they’re going to have to consider.”
The size of the new building has not been determined. The Fire Companies of Malta will develop the conceptual design within the next month with hopes of starting construction in the spring.
The building will be designed so that it will accommodate some of the larger equipment that will be needed downtown, including the new 100-foot ladder truck. It will have four apparatus bays able to hold as many as eight trucks.
“We’re looking at Malta and saying there’s a lot of growth,” Sievers said. “We have to plan for the future with this one. We’re going to put some capabilities in there that can be used for paid firefighters.”
The big goal, he continued, is to have the structure of the building up by next fall so the interior work can be done next winter.
“Our goal is for us to occupy the new station within 14 months,” he said.
Sievers said an informational meeting would probably be held at Malta Town Hall sometime in the future in order to bring residents up to speed on the project.
“We think this is a tremendous opportunity for the residents of the town,” Sievers said. “It’s taking two independent organizations and really showing that they are working together in protecting the folks. We sure would encourage and invite anyone that has that interest in helping us to consider joining one of the two departments.”