Work begins on new Copper Country fire hall

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP – A process, which began about four years ago, should be finished sometime in November when the new Franklin Township fire hall is expected to be completed.

Glenn Ekdahl, Franklin Township supervisor, said ground was broken about three weeks ago by contractor LJJ Construction of Houghton for the 60-feet-by-76-feet facility, which will be located on Sunshine Road.

Ekdahl said the fire hall will serve Franklin and Quincy townships, and Boston Location. In June 2012, voters in Quincy Township and Precincts 1 and 4 in Franklin Township approved a special assessment district to fund the construction of the building. In December, residents will have a 1.7 mill assessment, but that could change in subsequent years.

“It will be reviewed on an annual basis,” he said.

Other Franklin Township millages totaling 2.75 mills were eliminated to reduce the financial burden to residents for the fire hall project, Ekdahl said.

A bond, not to exceed $700,000, to fund the fire hall project, was approved by voters in Franklin Township in November – which will own the building – Ekdahl said. The bid from LJJ Construction was about $634,000, but with contingency and engineering fees, the final cost is expected to be just about $700,000.

The new fire hall is needed, Ekdahl said, because there is a safety issue with the current Quincy, Franklin and Hancock Townships Volunteer Fire Department hall on U.S. 41 near the Quincy Mine Hoist. Vehicles often have to back into traffic on the highway when answering calls.

The Boston Fire Department building has a problem with black mold and the roof is deteriorating. It was determined the cost to fix the Boston fire hall was about the same as building a new fire hall.

The Franklin and Boston fire halls will bring in revenue for the new fire hall project, however, Ekdahl said.

“They will be sold and that will help bring down the debt (for the new building),” he said.

Ekdahl said the building will have four bays and house five vehicles, including three apparatus trucks, one small pumper truck and a pick up truck for brush fires. It will have a meeting room, rest rooms and a small kitchen area.

“It’s nothing big or fancy,” he said.

The expected completion date for the construction of the fire hall is Nov. 15, Ekdahl said, and that should be met.

“They’re right on schedule,” he said.

Despite the time it’s taken to get the fire hall built, Ekdahl said he appreciates the approval of voters to fund the new fire hall.

“The residents have been very great,” he said.