Fire training facility coming to Marbletown? - BlueStone Press
June 28, 2017
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Fire training facility coming to Marbletown?

Fire training facility as shown on the Ulster County report for this project.
Jodi La Marco, BSP Reporter
Posted

Ulster County Community College in Cottekill may become the home of Ulster County’s first centralized fire training facility. “The County Executive has proposed a fire training center at Ulster County Community College,” said Supervisor Mike Warren during a March Town Board meeting. “Ulster County needs a fire training school. The county has been sending its fire people outside the county for this training.”

Deputy County Executive, Robert Sudlow, says that the creation of a fire training facility within the county has become a priority. “We have over 50 volunteer fire departments in the county that need to provide training for the new and ongoing volunteers. That’s becoming a greater burden. The state has increased the number of hours of training that are necessary,” explains Sudlow. “Each of the local departments has really taken on yeoman’s work to do this training and to get it coordinated. The first thought was that to do that centrally would give us the ability to not only provide that kind of training, but to make sure that it’s consistent with the requirements, as well as to kind of share the burden so that one department isn’t going to have to host it versus another. If Lloyd is hosting it and you live in Woodstock, you would have to go all the way to Llyod.”

“With a county this size, we’re kind of at a disadvantage,” notes Sudlow. “Due to the size of the county, volunteers have to travel great distances for their training. It’s tougher to attract volunteers.”

Although planning has already begun, the location for the training center has not yet been finalized. “What we’re looking at in a design phase is, is the Cottekill site feasible? In siting something, there’s much more to it than just owning the property,” Sudlow says. “We have to look at the topography of the property. Does it impact the neighbors? Does it impact wildlife? Does it impact any water sources?”

“They started to do some preliminary fieldwork, but they haven’t done SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review),” added Supervisor Warren.

Though siting the facility on UCCC property isn’t a done deal just yet, Sudlow says the site is high on the list of possibilities. “We have two main reasons why that area would work well. Number one, the county owns the property, so the property would not be taken off the tax roles. The second reason is synergy with the college; the classrooms and the ability perhaps to establish a fire emergency management curriculum to parallel the law enforcement curriculum. That would seem to receive some favor and some interest from not only the college administration but the fire administration,” Sudlow explains.

The project is included in the county list of capital improvement projects, and it is estimated that the facility will cost $1,921,729 to complete. As described on the county website, ulstercountyny.gov, the purpose of the facility will be to “expose firefighters and other first responders to the conditions they may be exposed to during emergency situations.” Plans will ultimately include “the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure, including parking, electric, water, and sewer.”

It is still unclear how much influence the town of Marbletown will have over the project. During the town’s March 7th Town Board meeting, Supervisor Warren said, “Ulster County Community College is exempt from zoning. It’s county-owned. It’s an educational facility. It’s totally exempt from building. They do not have to come to the town for anything.”

According to Sudlow, that may not be the case. “I think we would look to do both (town and county planning),” Sudlow says. “The county executive is always trying to be transparent in dealing with town, and not to come in heavy handedly.”

According to County Planning Board member, Kris Lovelett, the plan has not yet come before the County Planning Board.

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