Fire station ready for occupancy June 1

Warren Bluhm
News Editor

The Oconto Falls Fire Department is moving into its new home long before originally projected.

City Administrator Peter Wills told the City Council May 14 that contractors planned to turn over the keys to the new fire station at 431 Union Ave. on May 21.

“We’re in the final stretch and finishing over two months ahead of schedule and about four months ahead of what we had to in terms of the grant itself,” Wills said.

The new building is mostly financed with a $7 million American Rescue Plan Act grant. An additional $370,000 is being covered by a 20-year loan the council approved in April. Wills said city officials were planning to meet May 15 with the state Department of Administration, which released the federal funds, to discuss construction progress.

Member of the fire department have been landscaping around the building on weekends. Fire Chief Tim Magnin said the construction fence was coming down but the department planned to put up another temporary fence during the city’s Memorial Day weekend celebration May 24-27.

The idea is to dissuade people from walking on the newly seeded grass or parking on the new lot, giving the asphalt surface more time to cure before moving day, said the chief. The carnival, softball tournament and Sunday car show take place at Memorial Field adjacent to the new station.

“On the 28th we’re going to remove all that fencing,” Magnin said. “Then the plan is on Saturday, June 1, that morning, we’re probably going to wash trucks, haul the turnout gear and the trucks, and we’ll basically start responding from the station on the first.”

Magnin said the city is tentatively planning to have an open house at the new facility on a Sunday so it can be a family-oriented event, probably in August.

“Our plan is at least to get the grass established so people won’t be walking through mud and the parking lot into the station,” he said.