Work to begin soon at Merrillville fire station
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent September 15, 2012 11:26PM
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:36AM
MERRILLVILLE — Work is expected to begin soon on renovating the fire station on 73rd Avenue to accommodate the town’s first full-time Fire Department.
The three governing bodies overseeing the Merrillville Fire Protection District — the Merrillville Town Council, Ross Township Board and Merrillville Fire Protection Territory Board — at separate meetings last week approved a contract for $369,800 to Semford Management and Construction in Crestwood, Ill., to do the work.
The Town Council also agreed to waive building permit fees for the renovation with the exception of the inspector fee, which is paid contractually.
Fire Chief Ed Yerga said he was faxing the contract to the company on Friday and he should get a notice to start construction start next week.
The renovation will include reworking the entire upstairs portion of the station to accommodate the 14 full-time firefighters who have been hired, including Yerga and Deputy Fire Chief Jim Lilley.
Yerga said a swearing-in ceremony will take place Oct. 3 for the 12 firefighters, all of whom were members of the town’s volunteer department.
In other Town Council action:
Councilman Tom Goralczyk, D-4th, said workers began installing new playground equipment at Rosenbalm Park and should be finished by Oct. 1.
Parks Superintendent Caryn Wilson said a complete play system and a new surface made of recycled tire material is being installed at the 4-acre park located at 73rd and Chase. She said both the equipment and the surface are safer than what was there previously.
In May the town replaced the playground equipment at Pruzin Park.
Council President Shawn Pettit, D-6th, said he wants to discuss the possibility of the town providing on-call pick-up of large branches for some seniors.
Pettit said he received three calls from seniors saying they can’t get the branches to the curbside as the town asks. He asked that the matter be placed on Wednesday’s council workshop session.
The council donated $100 each to the Merrillville band and choir following a 9/11 memorial service that preceded the council meeting in which both performed.
“We can’t give what they deserve, but we can show our appreciation,” said councilman Richard Hardaway, D-2nd, who made the motion.
The Veterans Day celebration will be at 11 a.m. Nov. 12 at the Veterans Memorial on 73rd Avenue.