Grant funds sought for fire station upgrades

SOLEDAD — The City of Soledad is looking at making upgrades to the Soledad Fire Station and the Waste Water Treatment Plant services through a Community Development Block Grant application.

The City of Soledad has the opportunity to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that covers up to $5 million to complete a project that fits the grant criteria.

"We came up with some fantastic projects," said Public Works Director Donald Wilcox. "The 1952 City Fire Station has never had a seismic retrofit."

Wilcox said the benefit of retrofitting the Fire Station for earthquakes would be that in the event of an emergency the firefighters wouldn't be worried about the doors opening or that the building would not withstand the impact.

"In addition, the funding is available so that we could go beyond just the seismic retrofit," Wilcox said.

According to Wilcox, the grant allows two types of projects and one technical part. The bigger portion of the grant funding will be for the Fire Station upgrade.

"We have replaced the doors once," he said. "From faster opening doors to a lot of improvements to the fire station, there's a lot available to add to that fire station to make it a better one."

The City has been looking at making seismic retrofitting upgrades to the Fire Station for a long time. The roof has been the source of concern as well as being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"We are going to take care of the environmental concerns as well as expand one apparatus bay for if and when we get a next engine," said Wilcox. "And, convert the modules into stick built or block buildings."

The second project for the CDBG would be to expand the Waste Water Distribution System. The City has a tertiary treatment plant that produces water clean enough to use for irrigation that has not been used yet.

"We are just finishing our first project that was funded by Prop 84," Wilcox said.

That project irrigates Veterans Park and would be expanded through the CDBG to bring irrigation to Santana Park or Little League and Gallardo Park if there is enough funding.

"That's our goal, water is cheaper that way," Wilcox said. "That is a general fund park so we'll save general fund money, and it's a very well received green project."

The grant application required the City of Soledad to hold a public hearing Nov. 15 concerning the grant and what the funding would be used for.

The breakdown of the funding for the Fire Station and the Waste Water Project is for $4.9 million, with $3.2 million to the Fire Station, $1.3 million to the recycled water project and $93,000 to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The announcement for the grant applicant recipients is expected to be released by the end of the year with applications due Dec. 1.

The City Council unanimously approved the grant application to be submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

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