Irvington Fire 4319

The firehouse at 90 Main Street

Irvington’s dormant firehouse project is moving ahead.

On Dec. 20, the village board approved an agreement with Sullivan Architecture of White Plains to provide consulting services for the renovation and expansion of the facility at 90 Main Street. The firm will look at ways for the fire department to expand its footprint to the property next door, 86 Main Street, which the Village purchased in March 2020.

The Irvington Fire Department has outgrown its current home, which was built in 1964. The property at 86 Main has a three-story wood-frame 1920 building with retail space on the ground floor and residential space above. 

Mayor Brian Smith, a former volunteer firefighter, noted at the meeting that there had been changes in equipment and in regulations relating to firefighting over the years. The size of the fire trucks is only one factor. “There’s definitely safety issues,” he said. “The fire department has worked around them.” For example, he noted that firefighters change their clothes in the back of the firehouse, which is not an OSHA-approved practice. 

In 2012, the Village retained Mitchell Associates Architects to evaluate the space requirements of the fire department, and they concluded that the department’s needs could not be met within the constraints of the 90 Main Street property. The consultant recommended finding a larger site on Main Street or elsewhere in the village.

Six years later, with no movement on the firehouse front, the Village published an update to its Comprehensive Plan; finding a new location for the firehouse was one of the action items listed. In 2019, the Village bought 86 Main.

“We purchased the property while it was on the market, with full intentions to have more complete public discussions, so the community knew our plans,” Village Administrator Lawrence Schopfer told the Enterprise on Dec. 20.

The village board approved the purchase of 86 Main on Dec. 2, 2019, for a price of $1,075,000 and closing costs up to $50,000. The closing took place in March 2020, as the pandemic unfolded. The Village of Irvington declared a state of emergency a week after closing on the property. Discussions about building plans were put on the back burner. 

“We’re just regrouping now,” Schopfer said.

Sullivan Architecture will be paid up to $42,000, plus reimbursable expenses of up to $2,500. The firm will meet with Village staff and fire department personnel, review prior studies of the site, analyze existing conditions of the properties, and then present designs for the board’s consideration. 

If the Village decides to proceed with one of Sullivan’s designs, the firm will then move forward, under a new contract, to refine the design into working documents. They will also help the Village on the zoning and planning approval processes, prepare construction documents, and assist with the bidding process and administration of contracts.

Smith said the changes needed in the firehouse “aren’t easy fixes.” He hoped the additional area at 86 Main “will allow us to have a better plan — not to have a fancy firehouse, but to have an OSHA-compliant firehouse.”

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