Breaking Ground — After 40 Years Construction Begins on A Greenwich Fire Department HQs
It only took 40 years — in Greenwich Time, that's how Greenwich First Selectman and Fire Commissioner Peter Tesei described Tuesday afternoon's historic groundbreaking ceremony, marking the start of building a new Greenwich Fire Department headquarters.
The project is the culmination of a long-planned Public Safety Complex where police and fire headquarters are neighbors — pretty much like they were decades ago when the limestone and brick-tiled buildings were conjoined at the intersection of Havemeyer Place and Mason Street. It's all along that one-way curved street alongside the Greenwich Senior and Art Center that comes in off Greenwich Avenue to Havemeyer.
With a sapphire blue sky, dotted with dark grey clouds as a backdrop and a gusty breeze, various town officials and dozens of Greenwich firefighters witnessed the ceremonial groundbreaking for the $16 million headquarters that will replace the long-gone decrepit building that formerly housed the Amogerone Hose Co., an engine and ladder company, and deputy chief of the Greenwich Fire Department, and the department's administration.
Since 2006, the fire administration has housed in rented office space at 75 Holly Hill Ln. — about a mile from the downtown headquarters site. For nearly two years, the engine company and deputy dire chief have been relocated to temporary quarters on Horseneck Lane and the ladder company was transferred into borrowed quarters at the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Department station.
"This is good for morale. The department is biforcated being located in a couple buildings," Greenwich Fire Chief Peter Siecienski said after heaving a couple shovelsful of sand during the ceremony. "There is a sense of calm (with the project start) ... we need to get these firefighters back in central Greenwich. We're looking forward to getting it out of the ground ," Siecienski added.
Former Fire Chiefs John Titsworth and Dan Warzoha attended the ceremony where Tesei said Titsworth reminded attendees "that planning for this was first talked about in 1974. This is certainly Greenwich time, it took four decades."
Tesei also thanked several of the Board of Estimate and Taxation members who attended and voted support of the project that is scheduled for completion in December 2016. When it's done, the combined police and fire Public Safety Complex will have cost a total of $75 million, according to Tesei.
In the meantime, pedestrians and motorists will be prohibited from walking and parking along the immediately adjacent areas on Bruce and Havemeyer places, and Mason Street.