The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors is purchasing a roughly 1-acre parcel at the corner of Telegraph Road and Whitshire Drive to relocate the district’s No. 2 firehouse.
The existing No. 2 firehouse, built in the 1950s in the 5600 block of Telegraph Road, is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, according to Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer. The board is purchasing the property at the northeast corner of Telegraph Road and Whitshire Drive from Darrel D. “Dean” Climer of Oakville for $600,000.
The district has deposited $10,000 as a down payment for the property with the remainder of $590,000 due at closing, which is scheduled for April 13.
The purchase of the property is contingent on the suitability of the site for the construction of a new firehouse, Hilmer said, noting SCI Engineering Inc. is conducting a geotechnical and environmental examination of the property.
Asked about a time frame for construction of the new No. 2 firehouse, Hilmer said, “We’re going to wait obviously until the suitability (of the site) is ensured. We’re going to wait until the contract is closed on April 13 on the land. Then I believe Chief (Jim) Silvernail will proceed with obviously a drawing, et cetera, et cetera.”
The cost of the new firehouse likely will be similar to the cost of the district’s new No. 1 firehouse, which was completed early last year. The cost of the land, building and miscellaneous expenses for the No. 1 House totaled $1,721,920.
The old No. 1 firehouse at Lemay Ferry Road and Lindbergh Boulevard was purchased by the Missouri Department of Transportation for $1.15 million as part of a road-improvement project.
“That obviously was a project we inherited,” Hilmer said of the No. 1 House. “We had to make changes once we inherited it because it wasn’t even being built properly for today, much less the future, and that will not be happening on House 2. But as far as the cost, it’s going to be north of a million (dollars).”
Regarding the existing No. 2 firehouse, he said, “… The house is in a deteriorating condition. It’s been that way for many years. These things don’t happen overnight. They take years. Unfortunately, no one had any foresight before to plan for this type of occurrence. We looked very hard at could we demolish existing House 2 and build perhaps a two-story structure? Therefore, we don’t have to relocate our emergency traffic signal, et cetera, et cetera.
“It just would not be possible. The lot is so small and unusable. And that’s the other part. Once this new house is built, we’re going to be able to sell the existing house and piece of land, which will subtract off the $600,000,” Hilmer added, noting that the existing House 2 will remain open during construction of the new house.
The board, Hilmer said, is proceeding with the project on a pay-as-you-go basis.
“This purchase will be paid for with cash as well as will the new building once plans are decided on it,” he said. “It’s a sharp contrast to how residents are going to be saddled into the upcoming decade with mortgage payments for the opulent administrative headquarters that was built on Mueller Road — a loan that was taken out, by the way, without a vote of the people.”