CB 14 Approves New Firehouse For BC Volies
By a unanimous vote, Community Board 14 voted on Wednesday night to approve a critical zone change that would allow the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department to build a new facility on Cross Bay Boulevard.
The land, at 305 Cross Bay Boulevard, nearby the present American Legion Hall, was sold to the BCVFD by the city a few years ago.
Zoned for residential housing, the volies had to go to the community board to approve a zoning change that would allow a new firehouse.
According to John Calcagnile, the Howard Beach architect that drew the plans for the new two-story facility, it will consist of a 60 by 83 foot building that will have approximately 10,000 square feet of space.
The first floor would accommodate the parking and maintenance of the apparatus, fire engines and ambulances utilized by the volies.
The second floor would consist of offices, meeting rooms, a bunkroom and training spaces.
It is expected that, after the building is constructed, a control device such as a traffic light would be placed in front of the building and a cut would be made in the center median to allow quick access to the northbound lane of Cross Bay Boulevard.
Craig Boyle, the volie’s Chief, told the community board that they make more than 600 calls each year, primarily in Broad Channel and on Cross Bay Boulevard, but in Rockaway as well when EMS is tied up.
The chief pointed out there the nearest city firehouses are in Howard Beach and in Rockaway.
The new facility, at the high point in the community, will also be used as a triage and staging area in case of heavy flooding in the community, which is surrounded on two sides by Jamaica Bay.
When asked by a board member who was funding the new facility, Boyle said, "We have been saving more than eight years of private donations to make this work," Boyle said. "We have received some small grants over those years for operating, but we have been watching our pennies for this new firehouse for a long time."
The volies are planning on a number of fundraisers to get the funds to complete the project. One of those fundraisers is the sale of memorial bricks that will make up the new building. Those who are interested in contributing to the new facility or in purchasing bricks should contact the present firehouse on Noel Road in Broad Channel.