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New Rogers City fire hall in the works

Courtesy Photo An artist’s rendering of the proposed new Rogers City fire hall approved Thursday by the Rogers City Planning Commission is seen in this photo provided by the city. The new facility will be constructed at the corner of Sixth Street and Industrial Drive, across from the ambulance garage. It is expected construction will begin in the spring and be completed later in 2021.

ROGERS CITY — The Rogers City Planning Commission on Thursday approved a plan that will lead to the construction of a new fire hall.

The current fire hall is located in downtown Rogers City, next to City Hall. The new one will be built on the corner of Sixth Street and Industrial Drive.

Now that the project has gotten the green light, the construction process can begin. Bids are expected to be accepted in January, groundbreaking done in the spring, and construction completed late in 2021.

The project will cost about $1.3 million.

Rogers City Mayor Scott McLennan said the fire department isn’t run by the city. Instead, it is managed by the Rogers City Area Fire Authority, and fire service is shared between the city and Rogers, Belknap, Bismarck, and Molke townships.

He said officials have for years discussed building a new facility.

The city donated the property across from the ambulance garage for the new hall.

McLennan said the current fire hall is small and cramped, and a larger, more modern space is needed.

“With the modernization of equipment and the amount of equipment we have acquired, everything is pretty wedged in there,” he said.

Rogers Township Supervisor Randy Smolinski said the authority has been able to save about $600,000 for the project, and was considering a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Before applying for that loan, authority officials were approached by a local bank, which committed to loaning the money at the same rate.

Smolinski said housing the fire trucks closer to the highway will allow emergency first responders to arrive at the scene of emergencies faster than they do currently. He said the new building will also provide more space and more efficient work at the hall itself.

“We won’t have to drive through the heart of the city, through school zones. That costs us time,” he said. “From the new location, we’ll be able to jump right out to the highway. It is positioned better for everyone.”

When the current hall is emptied, McLennan said, it can be used for several things. He said other expensive equipment could be stored there, such as the mobile boat hoist for the city harbor, or it can be outfitted for purposes the public and visitors could benefit from.

“There are many things that will be considered, including storage for high-priced items that need to be kept indoors,” he said. “We could also look at turning it into public restrooms. No matter what we decide to do, the city is looking forward to having the space available.”

Since the new fire hall will be built in the city, the Planning Commission had to sign off on the design and make sure it complies with established zoning in the area, McLennan said.

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