Green Bay cancels ARPA request for new fire station at special meeting

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — The city of Green Bay has received more than $23.5 million in COVID relief funds as part of the U.S. bailout.

On Tuesday night, the town’s alders held a special meeting on where they think the money should go.

There were more than 40 ARPA funding proposals on the city’s agenda.

One item at the top of the list: a $9 million proposal to replace Fire Stations 1 and 3 in Green Bay with a new station.

“We truly believe that our firefighters deserve much better than the conditions in which they work,” said District 11 alder Melinda Eck.

Eck and District 1 alder Jennifer Grant gave a 10-minute presentation explaining the issues surrounding the stations.

Fire Station 1 is 93 years old, while Fire Station 3 is seven years younger.

Some firefighters stay and sleep in Fire Station 3, which has structural damage.

“You can see the ground flex when we back our device up,” said firefighter Sarah Cooper. “I know concrete has reinforcement. But it’s noticeable.”

Most alders agree that a new station is needed, but the city has a limited amount of ARPA funds to use.

“What I think is probably more at stake right now, today, is whether or not ARPA funds are the best way to achieve that goal,” said Brian Johnson, vice- Chairman of Nine Alder District and Council.

The city received $10 million for capital improvement needs, which is the category Eck and Grant’s proposal falls into.

However, the city has already allocated more than $4 million for other projects.

There are dozens of other ARPA requests that the city is or has reviewed.

“I just want to make sure we’re financially responsible for how we meet all of these needs,” Johnson said.

District Seven alderman Randy Scannell asks to set aside the fire station project and instead use bonds to pay for it.

“For me, it’s always been a bonding issue, and those issues have been less impacted by COVID,” Scannell said.

The fire department asks the city to have a plan to carry out this project in the next few years.

“I think it’s a serious need,” Fire Chief David Litton said. “I think that’s a fair request.”

If the fire station project goes ahead, city leaders say it will take at least two years before it starts.

As of late Tuesday night, the board had not approved the $9 million proposal.

More information about the fire station project can be found here.

Johnson told NBC 26 that at the meeting, the board approved an ARPA request for $2.25 million from the Parks Department to renovate the main pavilion at the Bay Beach amusement park and replace two downed rides.

According to Johnson, the council also passed a proposal to combat flooding and improve drainage along Nicolet Drive. The road has problems with stormwater runoff following heavy rain, which floods people’s homes.

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