By Ben Rodgers
SUAMICO – The village board formally discussed funding ideas for a new fire station at its Monday, May 7, meeting.
The new building will be placed on the corner of Riverside Drive and Deer Field Lane.
It will replace the current fire station located in Vickery Village, which is 50 years old and has heating and lighting deficiencies.
The new fire station is anticipated to be a building that will be in operation for 75 years and cost between $2.5-3 million.
Ideas brought up include: selling bricks with donors’ names on them, working concessions at Packers games, starting a Go Fund Me account, a direct mailer, a golf tournament and looking for corporate sponsors for selling naming rights.
“Fixtures and furniture, which is going to be significant in a building of that size, lend themselves very well to the suggestions that were made,” said Steve Kubacki, village administrator. “That helps keep the costs down, which is a good thing.”
Trustee Dan Roddan said the bricks could go for minimum donations of $200 for a small one and $400 for a large one. A family could donate a brick and it would be displayed at the front of the station.
“Obviously, that’s not going to build the building, but it may fund something in that building,” Roddan said.
Trustee Sky Van Rossum said the mailer would be a good idea to get the information in front of everybody.
“I think you have to think big in these circumstances,” he said. “I like the idea of a mailer. It announces we are doing a new station and that gets it out in front of folks.”
Trustee Mike Schneider said his church does concessions at Lambeau Field, and the cut per game is 5 percent, but when added up over an entire season or more, it starts to make an impact.
“Working with the Packers, they are in desperate need for every single game of workers for concessions,” Schneider said.
Schneider also said the village could approach large businesses in the area, like Schreiber Foods, Schneider National and the Green Bay Packers, and ask for their support.
“Who doesn’t want to help build a fire department when you are a business that supports the community?” he said.
Trustee Steve Andrews started the fundraising officially, with a $50 donation, and challenged the board to do the same as well.
“I’ll make a donation of $50 so we can start that account, and I challenge the rest of the board to donate $50, and if everybody does by our first meeting in June, I’ll donate another $50 to get that going,” Andrews said.
The possibility of applying for state grants was also brought up.
“With the current legislature we have in this state I don’t know if we have dollars,” said Troy Noe, fire chief. “It might be worth it to send somebody to Madison and have them talk to people.”
Kubacki said a large part of funds to be used for the new station will come from wetland mitigation fund dollars and the sale of the current site in Vickery Village.
More information on those figures will come at future meetings.
The board also requested to have fire station funding as a recurring topic, at least once a month at future meetings.
In other fire station news, the board formally agreed to a space needs study for $11,500 by Five Bugles Design from Eau Claire.
The funds will come from the excess stadium district tax dollars for the purpose of economic development.
“I’m going to rely on the experts on this, and I’m not thrilled having to do this, but a space needs study is the correct path,” said Laura Nelson, village president. “By golly if this decision turns out to be the wrong one I’ll own up for it for having voted for it, but they better get this right, that’s all I got to say.”
A previous village board had a space study done on the current village hall, but did not listen to it, said Steve Dunks, zoning administrator.
The village then decided to add on to the recently-completed building, which would have followed the recommended space needs study, he said.
“It cost us an arm and a leg to get it right, which is what the space needs study told us in the first place,” said Van Rossum, who was on the board when the addition was made.
Roddan called the study for a new fire station a prudent one.
“I think this is a great use of these tax dollars,” he said. “This is a very important part of our community, this is a big expenditure coming up, and to allocate less than 1 percent of the total costs for a space needs study for a 75-year building is very smart in my opinion.”
The lone opposing vote for the space needs study came from Trustee Michelle Eckert.