Temporary Meridian Fire Station 'Not Ideal,' But Ready

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Meridian Township, Mich. (WILX) Just a few weeks ago, Meridian Township firefighters won their battle to build a new fire station at the corner of Okemos and Central Park Drive after a judge denied a temporary restraining order filed against the township.

Friday, firefighters took the next step with the township's temporary set-up opening for business in the Meridian Township Service Center, 2100 Gaylord C. Smith Court.

The theme during a press conference Friday for reporters: it's not optimal, but it will do the trick for now.

"This isn't ideal," said Bill Priese, while giving reporters a tour of the facility.

"We've got a little ways to get to the rigs, but it is better than having water leaking in on you."

Priese making reference to the Central Fire Station, which the township shuttered back in February because of mold, flooding and leaking ceilings.

We've been defeated by the water coming into the building," said Fire Chief Fred Cowper in February. "We have had a battle here and basically, given up."

After officials chose the Meridian Township Service Center as the site for a temporary operation back in February, work began on about $40,000 worth of renovations for new lighting, electrical work and walls.

It's a worthwhile investment considering the space will be put to good use after the fire department is finished with it in about a year, according to Priese.

"It was decided to be more cost effective that they needed some more offices over here so they built this so that these will become offices once we move out," he said.

Granted the temporary site is more centrally located in the township to help minimize any affect on response times, Chief Fred Cowper admitted during Friday's press conference the location will still have its challenges.

Located off of Okemos Road, with train tracks to the north and a flood prone area of the road to the south, responding to some calls could become a bit more difficult than anticipated.

"If we have a train we're not going anywhere, if we have flooding on Okemos Rd. we are going to move back to the two stations and operate there until flooding subsides," he said.

"It's not optimal to be here but it's better than running out of the two stations."

Meridian also has fire stations located on the north and south sides of the township, on Haslett and Okemos roads respectively.

At the temporary site there will be one ambulance and one fire engine to respond to calls. The site has two bedrooms, along with restrooms and shower areas for both men and woman, something that was lacking at the now-defunct central station.

"In that respect it'll be an improvement," Cowper said.

An official groundbreaking for the new station is expected some time in July, while Cowper says he's optimistic construction will be completed by May of 2015.

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