Originally Posted Online: May 30, 2010, 7:10 pm
Last Updated: May 30, 2010, 7:16 pm

Silvis fire station scaled back after FEMA rejects grant

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Seth Kabala, seth@sethkabala.com

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Photo: Paul Colletti / staff
The Silvis Public Safety Building at 1040 1st Ave. houses the Silvis Police and Fire Departments. Plans to build a new primary fire station have been scaled back after the city was rejected for a $500,000 FEMA grant.

Silvis officials plan to build a scaled-back version of the fire station envisioned after the Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected the city's $500,000 grant request.

Fire Chief Dave Liebovitz said the new station will be less elaborate. "We're trying to keep it at three-quarters-of-a-million dollars," Chief Liebovitz said. "About half of what the other one was." An exact price estimate awaits new architectural drawings and cost analysis. Silvis plans to use Tax Increment Financing for the station.

Had FEMA approved the grant, the city planned the new building to be the primary station, sporting multiple offices, training and dorm areas.

"Now the station will be what is considered a satellite station," Chief Liebovitz said. It will have three or four garage bays, one office and two small bathrooms", he said. "The primary station will still be where it's at now -- the public safety center."

Concerns over the structural integrity of the public safety building and its downtown location fuel the need for a new station, officials say.

"If you go down in the basement, you look up at the ceiling, you can see where the re-rod in the concrete is rusted. Some of it's rusted completely through," Mayor Bill Fox said. "I've got probably a $600,000 fire engine sitting on top of it. … And I have no place else to put it."

Additionally, he said the state wants "us to be within one and a half miles of anywhere in our fire district for fire protection. We're not there. No way."

He said Silvis lost out on the grant primarily because it didn't own the proposed site -- across from Lighthouse on Tenth Street -- when the application was first submitted. He said the city tried to amend the application once the land was secured, but was not allowed.

The proposed site "would put us in the central part of the city," Mayor Fox said. "And we would be within one and a half miles of 99% of every building we have in the city of Silvis."

Silvis is working with Point Builders, a construction management firm, on the station plans.