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February 25, 2014

Public to weigh in on Leland fire station

TRAVERSE CITY — The fire station in Leland was build in 1962. Its roof leaks, and it’s hard to fit modern apparatus through the doors, said Leland Township Fire and Rescue Department Fire Chief Richard Royston.

Leland Township officials are considering whether to update its two old, existing fire stations or consolidate the two into one at a new location.

A new cost review of the options showed that building one new fire station would cost around $4.9 million, while updating the two existing ones would cost around $3.5 million.

“We believe they’ll both serve the community for the present and well into the future,” said Leland Township Supervisor Cal Little.

The Township Board hopes to put a millage to support construction on the Aug. 5 ballot, Little said.

The fire stations are currently in the unincorporated communities of Leland and Lake Leelanau, which are separated by Lake Leelanau. If the fire department stays on location, the Leland station would be rebuilt to more than 12,500 square feet, and the Lake Leelanau station would be upgraded.

The evaluation comes five years after a committee, tasked with evaluating fire service in the township, concluded that the township should build a fire station on M-204 and Hoeft Road.

But property values have changed so that option is no longer the cheapest.

“It’s a flip flop of land value that precipitated our reopening the case,” said Little.

Little said both options are “viable,” and offer their own advantages.

“From a pure fire chief management standpoint, the single fire station is the best option from a management (perspective),” Royston said. “With a lake in the middle, geographically it makes it very difficult to service both population areas out of one fire station.”

The Leland Township Fire and Rescue Department staffs the Leland station full-time, but not the Lake Leelanau station.

The township will present the two options to the public at meetings today at 7 p.m. at the Leland Township offices in Lake Leelanau, and on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Leland fire station.

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