- January 19, 2022
Longboat Key firefighters will have to wait about a month or two longer to begin working in the new fire station.
The town’s contractor experienced a delay in the delivery of garage doors because of a manufacturing disruption at a plant in Texas, according to Longboat Key Manager Tom Harmer.
“The supply chain is still not where it should be,” Harmer said.
Public Works Director Isaac Brownman told town commissioners that crews are set to finish construction by early July on Fire Station 92 at 2162 Gulf of Mexico Drive. The town is planning to hold a grand opening in July.
“This is the primary remaining component for us to really finish out the station,” Brownman said.
Renovations at the town’s north-end station, Station 91 at 5490 Gulf of Mexico Drive, are set to finish by mid-June.
“Otherwise, those are going well,” Brownman said. “You see the stations, especially the south station, coming together.”
Longboat Key town projects manager Charlie Mopps said ice storm damage at the Houston factory earlier this year caused the disruption.
“There is like a material shortage for metal, basically,” Mopps said. “Anything metal, that’s what we’re finding industry-wide, is that we’re not getting things that are ordered in metal delivered when we want them. That’s for sure.”
The contractor offered Longboat Key an alternate door system, but the town rejected it. Town leaders wanted what they originally ordered even if meant waiting a few months.
Mopps said the alternative was a red door that could’ve arrived faster, but the town would have had to paint them gray. He also said by painting the doors, the town would forego the 10-year warranty on the finish of the door.
“On a 30- to 50-year piece of infrastructure like this, a building that could be around for a while, you want to do it right the first time,” Brownman said. “And, that’s really what it came down to rather than kind of piecemeal or patch something else in that could work functionally, but may not look right with the entire wholistic way the building was designed.”
Mopps said the backup generator is already in place at Station 92, along with the completion of landscaping and painting. The station does have some remaining cabinet work.
South-end firefighters have operated out of a trailer north of the construction site since June 2020.
“It is frustrating because right now they’re still operating out of that temporary trailer,” Mopps said.
Mopps said the garage door delay creates a “snowball effect” because the town has to rent the temporary trailer for an additional $6,000 for the two extra months. The town had initially planned for Fire Station 92 to open in May.
The total cost of the project is $5,058,085, according to Mopps.
Station 92 will have its entrance on the south side of the building. It also has many distinct features, including a decontamination area so firefighters returning from a call can clean and shower to do their best to remove possible carcinogens.
The south station’s driveway wraps around the structure and is also built so emergency vehicles only need to pull forward. There is also a slight incline so the structure abides by FEMA codes.
The new building will also have a new indoor gym for firefighters to work out.
Both the south and north stations will be built to withstand 160 mph winds.
On Saturday, the Longboat Key Garden Club donated and installed several new plants around Fire Station 92.
The town has budgeted $900,000 in fiscal year 2025 to replace a fire truck, which Fire Chief Paul Dezzi says will be 15 years old at that point.
The Longboat Key Fire Rescue Department got a new $850,000 ladder truck in January to replace a 2003 model.