Asbury Park is moving closer to replacing the city’s old and inadequate firehouse. The City Council approved an ordinance June 12 allowing the city to enter into a contract to buy the property at 929 Asbury Ave. at the corner of Langford Street to become the city’s new fire and EMS headquarters.
A public hearing on the measure to spend up to $3.5 million for the three-story building is scheduled for Wed., June 26 at 7 p.m. The building is located just across the railroad tracks from the current firehouse at 800 Main St.
Fire Chief Kevin Keddy said the the three-story building that is now used as a warehouse has 6,000-square-feet on each floor. City officials hope to utilize the existing structure and convert it to a firehouse. The current owner is listed as Daniel Bachman.
The city has needed a new firehouse for decades and the existing firehouse was even closed by the State Department of Labor for a period in 2006 because of its unsafe condition. Keddy said now that the city is no longer strapped by the state’s control of the finances, it can move forward.
City Manager Michael Capabianco said once the city takes ownership of the building the process of converting it to the firehouse will take several years. He said an environmental clean-up is underway at the current firehouse and when the new station opens the property will be sold and the revenue used to help pay for the new building. Capabianco said the proposed acquisition is “a remarkable step forward” for Asbury Park.
The cty’s fire department is the only all paid department in Monmouth County. All other departments in the county operate with volunteers aided by a some paid staffers. There are 53 active duty firefighters in the department.
Fire Chief Keddy said the action by the city is an opportunity to design a firehouse for today and also for the future. The fire department not only responds to fires, it’s also the city’s First Aid Squad answering calls for major and minor emergencies 24 hours, 365 days a year. In 2018, the city’s ambulances responded to 7,648 calls.