Champlain residents to vote on new $6.9M fire station

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 11:20 PM EDT
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CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (WCAX) - Voters in Champlain, New York, will be voting Tuesday on whether to spend $6.9 million in taxpayer dollars on a new fire station.

Fire Commissioners Woodrow Kissel and Chris Trombley say they’ve outgrown their current space on Elm Street. If voters approve the funds, they would move to a location at the intersection of Routes 9 and 11, and build a station 3,000 square feet larger than their current one.

“Equipment’s gotten bigger. We have equipment in two locations,” Kissel said. “It would enhance response times.”

“The space is not getting larger,” Trombley said. “Egress in. Egress out. It’s a very tight space.”

They demonstrated for our cameras the difficulty of making a three-point turn to get equipment out of the parking lot.

The land the new station would go on is already owned by the fire district and is in a more central location. The new station would also have showers and washers for gear. “It’ll help keep the equipment clean and the turn-out gear clean,” Kissel explained. “And [firefighters] won’t be bringing chemicals home to their families.”

If the project is approved, taxes would go up $0.99 per $1,000. Though, they’re still looking for alternative sources of funding. “We are working with [Assemblyman] Billy Jones and his office,” Trombley said. “Some state funding just recently went through for $25 million to build fire stations.”

While Trombley and other officials are on board, the feelings among residents we spoke to were mixed. “It’s very centralized, very visible,” Thomas Trombley said. “It’s a small investment for the future of this community. It’ll have to get done soon. The longer we wait the more it’ll cost.” Trombley also said the building was not up to code and it would cost more to renovate than build a new one.

“Not much fires in Champlain,” said a resident named Walter. “Nothing against the firefighters, but it’s too much.”

“I think it’s a good spot, right in the middle of Champlain,” said resident Aaron Mesick. “If it helps bolster the community, I’d be happy paying a few extra tax dollars.”

The Champlain Fire District answers 200 to 300 calls annually.

“We’re continuously trying to recruit new members and to retain the ones we have. This project itself has already generated a lot of interest,” Trombley continued. “We’ve been here since 1886 and we’ll continue to serve the public well.”

Residents of the town and village of Champlain can vote at the current fire station on Elm Street from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.