From Ashes of DPW Fire, Irondequoit Can Come Out Stronger as a Community
Week of May 22, 2017
David A. Seeley
Town of Irondequoit
1280 Titus Avenue
Rochester, New York 14617
The Christmas Eve fire that destroyed over half of our Department of Public Works’ garage on the Town Hall campus confronted Irondequoit with immediate adversity. I am proud of how our workforce has risen to the occasion to maintain vital pubic services, and applaud the residents for their support during this time.
The Fire Investigation has ruled that the fire originated in one of the trucks in the south bay of the garage. The cause of the blaze has not been determined, and may never be. There has been no indication at all from law enforcement agencies that foul play was at work.
Immediately after the fire, I stated that we would emerge stronger from this unexpected setback. Our reality is clear: we need a new permanent DPW garage. The relevant question requiring analysis: where to build? Last week, I announced the Irondequoit Town Board has accepted a recommendation from an ad hoc site selection committee to relocate the DPW garage to property currently owned by New York State, near the Route 590/Route104/East Ridge Rd intersection.
The site makes sense for several reasons. First, it was the preferred alternative of a committee that was charged with recommending a site from a list of all properties in Town that had the physical capacity to house the facility. This committee, made up of Town staff and residents, utilized objective criteria for assessing the various alternatives.
In addition to the merits of this location, there are secondary benefits to removing the DPW garage from the Town Hall campus. Since I was young, there has always been a dream of transforming the campus into a true community asset. Indeed, we’ve taken steps over the past several years with the construction of a new state-of-the-art library, and our new ballfield complex. By removing this industrial artery that runs through the Town Hall campus, we will have newfound opportunities in the future to utilize additional space for public amenities. Just imagine the possibilities.
The 590-Site has long been eyed as a potential location for a town facility. Most recently, the 2014 Comprehensive Plan referenced the location as a potential new home for the Town’s DPW. The Town is currently engaged in proceedings with New York State to execute a land transfer. State DOT has indicated a willingness to part with the property, and I thank them for their ongoing cooperation.
Now that a site has been identified, the Town will begin the planning and design phase, concurrently with its process of acquiring the property from New York State. The facility is projected to be completed in 2019, with a Spring 2018 groundbreaking. In the interim, the Town will construct a temporary, four-season structure on the footprint of the destroyed garage.
In many ways, Irondequoit has shown resiliency as a Town these past several months. Let us allow the rebuilding of our DPW Garage to be a symbol of that resolve, and motivate us to see adversity as an opportunity to build a stronger community.
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