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New firehouse up for vote in Hyde Park today

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Albany/HV: New firehouse up for vote in Hyde Park today
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The all-volunteer Roosevelt Fire District says Station #3 needs to be replaced and they're asking taxpayers to vote Tuesday on bonding to build a new firehouse. YNN's John Wagner reports.

HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- The Roosevelt Fire District covering roughly 27 square miles and 12,000 residents, says one of its three fire houses is falling apart. With the 58-year-old Station #3 sitting in a flood plain, officials said it doesn't make sense to renovate.

"Dumping money into a place that can't last for another five or ten years is not a good thing to do with the tax money," said Dan Nichols, chief of the Roosevelt Fire District, and a volunteer for the past 19 years.

"The repeated exposure to water has eroded the structure of the building," said Ed Desmond, a Roosevelt fire commissioner. "The blocks are falling apart. They're decaying. They're crumbling."

During tropical storm Irene, the building flooded. Leaving locals calling the station with noone around to pick up the phone.

"We become part of the problem, because we have to vacate this," said Desmond.

"This building is full of mold and some people can't stay here and just be on standby because of the health issues associated with it," said Chief Nichols urging taxpayers to consider voting yes on Tuesday.

Building a $4.5 million new home would be paid for by using one million dollars in reserve funds and by borrowing the rest. Some taxpayers claim the construction plans have been kept hidden under the radar.

"They have been systematically overtaxing the residents of the Roosevelt district for quite some time to come up with well over a million dollars," said Tom Martino, the former supervisor of Hyde Park.

To fund the project, Hyde Park homeowners will pay about an extra $60 a year in taxes. To some, that's too much to ask for.

"We are in a challenging economy, can we really afford this?" asked Martino, who says the funding process has been troubling.

But rather than spending money to replace a roof, a septic system, concrete blocks, and leaving the station handicap inaccessible, fire officials say now is the time for a new home.

"Physically disabled people can't get into that space without us actually having to carry them and it's really a hardship on the entire community," said Nichols, explaining how it's not possible to house disaster victims at the current station.

Registered voters are invited to cast their ballots at the 1 Roosevelt Road firehouse between 6:00pm and 9:00pm on Tuesday, February 19th.

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