Ludington moving forward with new fire station.

March 6, 2017

scottville_fun_ludington_fire_arielLudington moving forward with new fire station.

#LudingtonNews #MasonCountyNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The City of Ludington is moving forward with building a new fire station. The City Council voted Monday during its regular meeting to authorize the architect to develop construction plans for the new fire station. It also voted to authorize the construction-management firm to solicit construction bids for the new station and authorized construction to commence on the new fire station contingent upon closing on the two city owned parcels where the current fire station is located, on the northeast corner of Loomis Street and Rath Avenue, the city obtaining its financing to construct the new station and upon the city and the Pennies from Heaven Foundation closing on the $1 purchase of its half of the property at 920 E. Tinkham Ave. where the new Lakeshore Resource Network will be located. The fire station will be located behind that facility. 

The parcels of land located in the “old bowling alley block” between Rath Avenue to the east, Robert Street to the west, Loomis Street to the south and Ludington Avenue to the north, are being redeveloped to consist of a multi-use facility (with the exception of the buildings located along Rath Avenue). The developer of the project would like to begin construction this summer, according to a memo to City Council from City Manager John Shay.

The initial cost estimate of the new fire station is estimated to total $2,161,672, exceeding the budget of $1,700,000. Meetings between city representatives and the architect and construction-management firm, resulted in a reduction in cost to $1,979,676.

“Any further reductions in the cost would result in constructing a new facility that does not meet the basic needs of the fire department,” Shay stated. “The construction-management firm indicated that building costs have increased significantly in the last year or two due to the strong economy and the significant amount of building projects that are taking place in west Michigan.”

Shay said the city expects to generate about $57,758.48 in revenues from the redevelopment of the old bowling alley block in the first year, meaning the general fund would have to pay the difference of $8,452.84 in order to meet the first year’s bond payment of $66,211.32. The city is expecting to finance the fire station through bonds over 40 years, borrowing $1,500,000; the city will receive $500,000 for the sale of the two city-owned downtown parcels. It is estimated that after the 11th year of financing, the revenues of the bowling alley block would exceed the annual bond payment, which would allow the city to use the excess revenues to prepay the outstanding loan balance and reducing the city’s total interest payments, Shay said.

The estimated cost of renovating the existing fire station, which is over 50 years old, is at least $1 million.

“Please know that 51% of the revenues that are being used to construct a new fire station are coming from non-city sources,” Shay said, “whereas the city would pay for 100% of the cost to renovate the existing fire station.”

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