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Boyceville fire board agrees to further investigate BP site for new fire station

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE  — Members of the Boyceville Community Fire District have approved obtaining more information about the village-owned site behind the BP gas station to determine whether a new fire station would meet height restrictions and size limitations.

The Boyceville fire district discussed several possible sites for a new fire station at a special meeting December 4.

The potential site by the BP station is located within the height restrictions for the Boyceville Municipal Airport.

“There’s a question about fitting the building with the height restrictions,” said Gilbert Krueger, village president and chair of the Boyceville fire district.

One particular concern is the hose drying tower that could be part of the new fire station.

Brian Marlette, Boyceville fire chief, has gone on record in the past and reiterated at the December 4 meeting that if the height of the tower was a “deal breaker,” the fire department would not need the hose drying tower.

“It is not a total necessity. We could do without it,” Marlette said.

Another concern is whether a two-story building would fit on the site.

“I have not heard back from Five Bugles (Design) about whether a two-story could fit,” said Rich Monn, chair of the Town of Stanton and chair of the fire district’s five year planning committee.

A two-story fire station could be one of the options under consideration because it is less expensive “to go up than out,” he noted.

If a building can meet the height limitations, “before we can make a decision, we need the dollar amounts,” said Ned Hahn, fire district representative from the Town of Hay River.

Another possible site for the new fire station is on the north side of Boyceville in a residential area.

The property owner has offered to donate the land to the fire district and would like to have the paperwork out of the way by the end of the year for tax purposes, Krueger said.

Even though a donated site would be much appreciated and would save the fire district a certain amount of money, members of the district agreed that a fire station in a residential area might not be ideal.

Several fire district members wondered which site the firefighters preferred.

“The BP site is my first thought,” Marlette said.

The site on the north side of the village does not have good highway access for the fire trucks, there is an apartment house nearby, and there are school crossing zones, he said.

“It does not seem feasible for us to get out of there,” Marlette said.

The distance between the two sites — the one on the north side and the one behind the BP gas station — is about two minutes by vehicle, and “that’s driving slow,” he said.

Some of the firefighters live to the north, but two minutes would not make much difference in response time, especially considering the better highway access from the BP site, Marlette said.

The BP site is near the main highway, has better access, and has fewer people who would be disturbed by the lights and sirens at night, he said.

Another possible site for a new fire station is located south of the BP station, but Krueger noted that the site to the south would be more desirable for commercial development.

Jo Palmer, a Boyceville village trustee, wondered about holding a public hearing for the site of the new fire station.

A public hearing would be held only if the zoning needed to be changed to allow a fire station, said Cindy Swanepoel, village clerk treasurer and clerk-treasurer for the fire district.

Several fire district members wondered how much money the village board would want for the BP site.

Krueger said the village board had not discussed selling the site to the fire district but thought that it would be only a “nominal fee.”

Monn pointed out that faster access to a main highway would cut down the fire department’s response time and that a faster response time could mean lower insurance rates for homeowners.

Members of the Boyceville fire district unanimously approved a motion to get more information about the site behind the BP gas station to see if a fire station could actually fit considering the height limitations of the Boyceville airport.

Monn said he would contact Five Bugles design to see about obtaining the additional information.

Mike Blechinger, a supervisor on the Tiffany Town Board, said he had contact information for a person at the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics who works with height restrictions.