After several delays and rejection of bids on the construction of a new firehouse to be located at the foot of the former Military Ocean Terminal, the city is posed to finally award a contract.
“We finally may have a bid that comes within the prices we set,” said Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell.
With a final review set for May 15, the city administration will recommend approval at the May 16 meeting of the City Council.
“This means we could see the piles being driven in within seven days and moving of earth after that,” O’Donnell said.
In anticipation of the awarding of the contract, the City Council voted in January to approve a contract for driving of the piles that would provide footing for the proposed $4 million firehouse.
The new firehouse would replace the tent that the department currently uses to house fire vehicles servicing the Route 440 area.
The temporary fire station, which began operation 2009, was the result of the sale of the Maritime District last year to Ports America for a car import/export operation.
When the Peninsula was still in operation as a military base, the U.S. Army maintained its own fire department and built a firehouse there. When the federal government closed the base in 1999, Bayonne took over the fire service. But the sale of land forced the fire department to relocate. This coincided with a report by Matrix Consultants in December 2007 that recommended combining several operating departments at one location.
Since the 34th Street Station was located only seven blocks from another station, it was moved to provide more rapid response and wider coverage from the new location, which has immediate access to 34th Street, as well as to Route 440 and roads leading into the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor.
The 5,000 square foot tent was installed at the edge of the Peninsula to temporarily house the units until a new state of the art facility could be constructed. The city’s master plan calls for a new permanent structure to house the fire department located in the Harbor Station South area.
In the depressed local and national economy, the city had to find ways to fund the new building so that the fire companies can be moved out of the tent and the firefighters moved out of the adjacent trailers they currently use as residences.
“We finally may have a bid that comes within the prices we set.” – Jason O’Donnell
The initial bids for the actual construction work came in March, but were rejected because they came in higher than expected. The city received 10 bids for the five-bay South Harbor Firehouse, but they were too high and the city would need to solicit new ones. But O’Donnell said the problem appears to have been resolved and that the project could begin work immediately once the city council awards the bid.
The federal Department of Homeland Security announced that the Bayonne Fire Department will receive more than $3.5 million. Most of the funding for the project is coming from FEMA’s Fire Station Construction Grant Program.