The Mineola Volunteer Fire Department headquarters building on Jericho Turnpike will have to be torn down and rebuilt due to structural issues, Mayor Scott Strauss said at a Mineola Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday.
He also said that work to upgrade the village’s sewer system is being held up by the Long Island Rail Road’s third track project.
“Unfortunately, that building has to come down,” Strauss said of the fire headquarters. “There are structural issues with that building. It’s safe, right now.”
Village engineers have told Strauss and the board that the building has to be brought up to code and the building has to be fixed “inside and out,” Strauss said. There are cracks in the building’s structure that have required scaffolding to be put on the building.
“The department hall, the main part of the building, is starting to crack, has cracked and has shifted,” Strauss said.
He said that the village board had discussed simply renovating the building, but more structural issues could be discovered during a renovation.
Strauss did not disclose a specific amount for the building project but said the board was told “it’s only a few million dollars more” to build a new building that can last the village “another 100 years.”
Strauss said that building a new headquarters should take “about a year” and noted that it will be a challenge for the Mineola Fire Department. He said that neighboring fire departments have agreed to store vehicles and other resources during the project.
“It will be a headache for the Fire Department and the business owners, but for the residents of the village you won’t notice anything because the response will be as good if not better as it was before,” Strauss said.
When former Mayor Jack Martins left office the village had about $28.3 million in debt, Strauss said. Now the village has $6 million in debt.
He said the debt is likely to rise again to pay for the project as the village will have to pursue grants and loans to pay for the construction project.
On upgrading the village’s sewer system, Strauss said, Main Street will have to be closed and ripped up but there are some holdups due to LIRR work.
‘We’re going to rip up the main street because we have to,” Strauss said. “The sewer system in that area is failing.”
Strauss said that the village plans to work on the sewer systems in the village from Willis Avenue to Mineola Boulevard on Harrison Avenue and on Main Street from Harrison Avenue to Old Country Road.
The work was set to start in June, but work on the Harrison Avenue parking garage as part of the LIRR Third Track Expansion Project has held the project up. The pipes will have to go under the tracks, which Strauss said involves collaborating with Nassau County, PSEG, Verizon and National Grid.
“The third track is holding us up. We have to coordinate with them. We have to get approval with them because we’re jacking it underneath the tracks, the piping,” Strauss said.
Strauss said he hopes that once the village gets approval from all parties the work will be done “fast.”