The Coastal Post - May 2000

New Bolinas Firehouse Possible

By Mike Aitken

In the months since we last reported on the status of the firehouse project, the building committee has been going over proposed plans with a sharp pencil, and paring the project down to the minimum we believe necessary to serve the community's emergency and disaster needs. We do know that at the very least with the new plan there will be enough room in the engine bay that we could park two fire engines next to each other without folding back the mirrors first.

We have been working with an architectural firm in Santa Rosa which has extensive experience in firehouse design and with local designer Steve Matson who has extensive experience in building design and who, as an old Future Studies and Bolinas Planning Group guy, was a significant contributor to the Bolinas Plan and is sensitive to community issues.

Having pared our wish list down to bare essentials, we now have two potential looks for the new firehouse. Both contain essentially the same layout and will work well for us. One of the plans has a traditional barn look, complete with clerestory, but it ends up being a pretty big imposing structure. The other has hip roofs and presents a much lower profile.

We want the firehouse to be something that integrates well into our community and complements the recreation area at Mesa Park. Our goal is to have you be as proud of the fire station as we hope you are of the firefighters. We are soliciting your input as to which design you prefer. We will have models of both designs available for your perusal at the firehouse during regular business hours (8-5) from May 1-19. Please stop by and let us know which design you prefer and why.

This, or course, leads to the question of how will we pay for a new firehouse. It appears that either design will cost about $1.5 million dollars, though we are still hoping for less. The District has been putting money into reserve for several years in anticipation of this project, and we are organizing a fund-raising campaign to try to raise enough money privately to keep the tax bite manageable for each household. We would, of course, welcome all the help we can get with that effort. If you or someone you care about has been helped by the fire department and you wondered what you could do to help us, this may be your opportunity. We could particularly use the help of those with fund-raising experience and ideas.

Thanks for your patience as we try to work up the best solution to the town's emergency services needs. We need your help and welcome your input. Please stop by for a look.
Mike Aitken is the President of the Bolinas Fire Protection District Board.

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