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Construction begins on long-awaited Saratoga Springs fire station

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new fire station Tuesday in Saratoga Springs
Lucas Willard
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new fire station Tuesday in Saratoga Springs

Construction has begun on a long-awaited firehouse on the east side of Saratoga Springs.

“Good morning, everyone. I want to thank you for coming to the groundbreaking of the Saratoga Springs fire department station #3.”

Officials broke ground Tuesday on the city’s third fire/EMS station, in the works for more than two decades.

Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Joe Dolan said as the city has grown, so has demand for services on the east side.

“We’ve had higher incidents of overlapping calls that requires more service, more apparatus, personnel to provide the quality of service this city deserves. It’s also going to house the county Hazmat team. This particular location for this station gives us easy access to [the] Northway, both north and south for the county, and also Route 29 going east and west,” said Dolan.

The station will be located off Henning Road on land owned by the New York Racing Association. A long-term lease agreement for the property was reached by the previous city council.

Democratic Mayor Ron Kim said the need for a station was brought to his attention in 2005, just before he stepped into his prior role of Public Safety Commissioner. Now mayor years later, he thanked his predecessors for pushing ahead.

“We didn’t get it done. We failed. It took a number of other administrations. So we passed the baton. And to the credit of former Mayor Meg Kelly and the last city council, Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton, we did get the site. And now we’re in the situation to do this,” said Kim.

Republican State Senator Daphne Jordan, who presented a State Senate Certificate of Recognition to the fire chief and Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino, said she was informed of the need for a third fire station in January 2019 during her first official visit to the Spa City.

“And one of the asks that day was, ‘Do you think you can contact NYRA and talk to them about the importance of the land they have and that we’d like to use it to put a fire station on it?’ And I said, ‘That’s one ask that I can do,’” said Jordan.

Montagnino said he couldn’t take “any credit” for the work done to secure the location for a facility that aims to improve response times and alleviate stress on the city’s two other emergency stations.

The first-term Democrat said the next challenge will be staffing the facility.

“While it’s been a long time and a long road and a difficult slog to get here now, there’s still many months of work ahead to get the station ready, to get the station staffed, and to get the station equipped,” said Montagnino.

Speaking with WAMC, Chief Dolan said a final staffing plan has not yet been determined. There are currently 66 staffers at the fire department, which is currently at full capacity.

The fire station is set to open in 2023.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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