Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Neighborhood board
delays decision on
Wahiawa Fire Station

The panel will resume the discussion
at its next meeting on Oct. 18

By Harold Morse


The Wahiawa Neighborhood Board last night put off its recommendation on a new or renovated Wahiawa Fire Station until its next regular meeting.

After an hour of wrangling, the board voted 7-0 to place the matter on its Oct. 18 agenda.

Essentially, it's looking at three options -- a new fire station at the existing site at 640 California Ave., renovating the existing station or a new station at another site.

Fire Chief Atillio Leonardi said a new fire station could be built and open by December 2000 if built at the existing site. Cost would be close to $2 million.

Architect and consultant Paul Louie strongly opposed renovating the existing station. It could cost $2.8 million and require demolition of about two-thirds of the structure to rebuild it with a higher roof line to accommodate new, larger fire equipment, he said.

"The existing building would have to be torn apart by hand and then rebuilt piece by piece."

The whole front side would have to be removed and rebuilt, Louie said. He said it would take six to eight years to get all necessary permits and build the structure. There was much opposition to a plan to set up a temporary one-year fire station at Wahiawa District Park if work is done at the existing station site. Leonardi offered assurances that another site could be found for a temporary station if utilizing park land is unsuitable.

A proposed back entrance to the existing site off Mango Place brought demands that nearby residents be surveyed for their thoughts. Some objected that the existing fire station is a historic structure and should be preserved. "It has not been placed on the historical register," countered board chairman Ben Acohido. "There are people that are working on it."

Wahiawa station recently received a new fire truck purchased with federal funds, but the $327,000 truck couldn't fit in the existing Wahiawa station and is temporarily housed at Waipahu.

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