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Posted: 11/28/12

Bruce, Romeo ponder
fate of S. Rawles fire hall

Observer Staff Writer
      Talks have begun to decide what will happen to a soon-to-be empty fire station.
       As the Bruce-Romeo Fire Department's new fire hall nears completion, questions have been raised as to what will happen to the fire station located in the Village of Romeo when it's vacated.
       Bruce Township Clerk Susan Brockmann said plans are still on target for the department to occupy the new fire hall in mid-December.
       She said the next step in completing Fire Station 3, located next to the Township Hall on East Gates Street, is to install utilities and exterior lighting.
       She said the original estimates for building the new fire hall was $300,000, but unforeseen costs such as installing a lift station and problems connecting to the sewer and water line bumped up the expense to $450,000.
       "I commend the fire chief and the building official because they have still kept costs under control," Brockmann said.
       Romeo and Bruce Township have a two-pronged agreement for emergency services. One part deals with what services are provided by the fire department while the other addresses the facility located on S. Rawles Street.
       Village President Mike Lee said he would conduct a walk-through of the Rawles building with Fire Chief Floyd Shotwell. He said he would ask if the department had any plans for the building at that time.
       "It's up in the air, I could see a whole bunch of (uses)," Lee said. "I'd hate for them to leave that building, but they do have a nice facility over there."
       Shotwell previously said he had a revenue-generating idea for the Rawles building, but Village Attorney Mark Clark said the contract doesn't allow for non-firefighting uses.
       "If they have some purpose for it you'd have to entertain what it is, but it has to be related to the operation of the fire department," he said. "Any use would have to be approved by the (Village Council)."
       Per the contract, Bruce Township is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Rawles building until a new agreement is reached. Prior to building the new facility, the fire department leased the Rawles building for $1 a year.
       Trustee Matt Edwards said he knew of people who were interested in leasing the building.
       "We can make a lot more than a dollar," he said.
       The new 3,500 square-foot Fire Station 3 will house living quarters, two ambulances and a fire engine.

       FIRED UP. Above, the new Bruce-Romeo Fire Department, located next to the Township Hall on East Gates Street, will be ready for occupany by mid-December. Officials in Bruce and Romeo are trying to determine how to use the fire station on S. Rawles Street once the department moves its personnel from the location. The new fire station will house living quarters, two ambulances and a fire engine.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

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