NEW BERLIN – The Village of New Berlin held a public forum Wednesday to discuss the creation of a new firehouse and community center, thanks to $900,000 in donations.
The Chobani Foundation contributed $550,000, to the project. The Preferred Mutual Insurance Company donated about $150,000, a NY State Grant is providing another $150,000, Golden Artist Colors Inc. donated $30,000, and NBT Bank donated $20,000. Other businesses such as New Berlin Pizzeria and Gates-Cole Insurance, also made significant donations or offered support.
The donations have highlighted a larger story about the New Berlin area. Intensified in the village, it is one of recent growth and change and the challenges they bring.
At the forum village officials, project engineers and volunteer firemen made a presentation on why they need a new firehouse, and how they intend to go forward with the project.
Issues with the old department included a wide range of things, including cracks in the building's foundations, bending of the walls, along with a history of economic half-repairs designed to meet the the changes in state requirements and codes.
The building needs new drainage for oil water separation, an exhaust ventilation system, hazardous showers for firemen and a heaving concrete floor with cracks stretching through it, said officials.
At the forum members of the public welcomed the growth but also pointed out the increase in traffic congestion, especially with heavy truck traffic coming through town.
Fire officials also noted the growth in local business facilities combined with the age of the current fire facility were trends at that could lead to more challenges.