Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

After battling black mold and vermin for years, city of Lodi will replace Fire Station 2

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013 12:00 am

The city of Lodi has purchased land and is in the process of replacing the problematic Fire Station 2, where firefighters have had to deal with rodents and black mold for a decade.

For years, the Lodi City Council and city staff have sought to rebuild the station, but city staff has struggled to find a suitable piece of property.

As of Dec. 30, 2012, the city closed escrow on a 1-acre former used car lot at the corner of Cherokee Lane and Oak Street. The city purchased the property from Geweke Land Development and Marketing for $400,000.

The new station will cost between $3 to $3.5 million and take somewhere between 18 months to two years to construct.

The key was finding a piece of land that allows for firefighter response times that are as good as the current station on Lodi Avenue, city officials said.

Fire Station 2 serves a majority of the Eastside, and trucks have to respond as fast as possible, despite obstacles like the railroad tracks and Highway 99, Fire Chief Larry Rooney said. There also needs to be quick access to both the residential and industrial areas.

The new location will also make the station more visible and aesthetically improve what is now an empty lot, the chief said.

"The biggest winner is the community because we end up with a building that we can take pride in on the Eastside. It is right on Cherokee Lane, which is a main access into town," Rooney said.

The current station is only 31 years old, but Lodi firefighters have battled black mold, a leaky roof and a vermin infestation for at least a decade, said Brad Doell, Lodi Firefighters Association president.

"It is just really dilapidated. It's not because of the city not keeping it up; it was just bad craftsmanship," he said.

During a tour in August 2010, several Lodi City Council members told city staff to move the fire station to the top of the priority list and get the firefighters into improved living quarters as soon as possible.

City Manager Rad Bartlam then started looking at property around Fire Station 2 to build a new station. That process took longer than expected because the city negotiated for months with one property owner, and then that deal fell apart.

When an agreement was not reached, the city started looking around for other possibilities, and found the Geweke property had recently come on the market, Rooney said.

In June 2012, the council also moved the process forward by refinancing a 2002 General Fund bond that had paid for a new police building, the reconstruction of Hutchins Street Square and the refunding of prior bonds issued for Downtown Lodi improvements. That money will pay for a majority of the project, Rooney said.

The city is also currently negotiating to rent a portable fire station that the firefighters will be able to live in during the construction, the chief said. Doell hopes the firefighters will be out of Fire Station 2 within the next six months.

In the past, there have been promises to fix the building that never came to fruition, Doell said. During the last two years, the firefighters have been appreciative of the city's communication and focus on finding a solution, he said.

"I know that the council and city staff have been working tirelessly to get us a site," he said. "Things did not go as smooth as they anticipated, and it took longer than we would have liked, but we understand a lot of the forces affecting that were out of the city's control. It certainly comforted the firefighters knowing that it was still a priority and that they were working toward getting us out of the station."

Mayor Alan Nakanishi said he is glad Lodi is able to fund this type of project, even with a limited city budget.

"It's long overdue, and I'm glad we have the land we have acquired," he said. "The living quarters for the firefighters have not been adequate for a long time, so I am happy that we can do this."

For the next fire station, Doell said he thinks the city has learned from previous mistakes with other stations.

For example, the heating and air conditioning system at Station 4 is meant for a commercial building, and it is hard to regulate the temperature, he said. Also, because the fire station is occupied 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the air conditioning system frequently breaks down because it is being used constantly, Doell said.

City staff is currently working on a request for architects to design the new station. The chief would like to look for a contractor who has designed other fire stations previously, Doell said.

The city is putting together a committee that will include firefighters to help with the design process, and there will be field trips and consultations with other communities on what works, the union president said.

"A fire station is more occupied than most people's homes," Doell said. "It's a commercial or industrial setting but you have people living there, so you have to incorporate some of the comforts of home."

Rooney said one benefit of the new station is that they are planning to construct three bays, so they will be able to store more of the city's equipment indoors.

"We are looking to build a 50-year building. We are looking for something that is going to last for the community and provide us with nice living conditions and additional apparatus room," he said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

15 comments:

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:50 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Lucky for Lodi this was the same "generic" auditor that specializes in California municipality audits and only uses the information given them by the city and not by looking at "cooked" books. Why do you think the city of Lodi management team and city council members are so adamant about having the city of Lodi books audited by an independant outside auditor that audits the actual books and figures down to the penny, and prefers the "generic" audit by the same chosen company that does nearly ecery government entity in California?

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:39 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Might be that "butler building" as we call them in the construction industry, if not erected properly, will die long before their time. This seems to be a classic example of poor worksmanship and just as much lack of maintenance by the city of Lodi. There is no bad "craftmanship" in Lodi, otherwise this station would not passed inspections unless either the inspector, city or contractor lied about data or disguised defects or the fire department would not have signed the certificate of occupancy. And Mr. Walters thinks that any contractor in this lousy economy would waste their time and money to intentionally bid high on a job for any reason? With the lack of decent sized jobs today there should be at least twenty contractors bidding these Lodi jobs but many know that Diede will more than likely be the lowball and don't even bother. Talk to some of the contractors from Lodi/Stockton and see if that isn't the answer they give you. I can proudly show you my five year apprenticeship completion certificate from the UA, a government approved apprenticeship program that includes not only on the job hours, but classes and lessons that also have to be completed before advancing to the next of 10 grades in your apprenticeship and I just wonder if you could go to these contractors and ask their employees what their craft is and whether they are a journeyman or apprentice. Most won't even know what an apprentice is. And if they claim to be a journeyman, ask to see their certification or proof that they even attended any school to learn the needed technical aspects of their trade that they are required in order to be considered a qualified journeyman? Do you know these companies employ many unqualified persons on these city of Lodi high paying prevailing wage projects? And a common practice for these contractors is to charge the city wages for a journeyman electrician, for example, at a prevailing wage package of, say $35 hour and then pay that same employee a $20 an hour package as a common laborer without even the employee knowing that this contractor is lining his own pockets with $600 of his wages without the employee knowing anything is going on. The city is required to obtain certified payroll reports from each contractor on these prevailing wage jobs and the city has been lax in doing that. One example in 2005 involving a local contractor is on the records in the 2005-2006 Lodi city budget audit. This contractor and the city of Lodi are still favoring this contractor after avoiding a major embarassment for them both when some audit totals were moved from 2005 to the 2006 budget and disappeared from the budget in 2006, God only knows where. This matter was well hidden by the local paper and council but the records are still public and I have copies. So any of you who think these local contractors don't have a huge advantage on outsiders, shame on you.


    4600

     
  • Ed Walters posted at 6:10 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 351

    Perhaps Mr. Chaney would care to mention who the two local good `ol boy compaines are? The biggger companies can alway submit lower bids if they really want the job. You talk about good `ol boys and girls, come on Doug let the people that don`t know who they are, know who they are.

     
  • Ed Walters posted at 5:57 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 351

    Many companies bid high since they really don`t want the job in the first place, however can say they did bid on the job and keep their names in the construction of new buildings. The firehouse is not really a big job compaired to a Lowes or Home Depot. Thats the one they will go after.

     
  • Ed Walters posted at 5:44 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 351

    Keeping in mind that you get what you pay for no matter if its a roof replacement or work done on your car, most likely the fireman did your roof on their days off. Did the roofer have a licence with the California Licence Board of Contractors? It has always been, byer be ware. As far as good `ol boys are concerned and low the bidder, keep in mind that the space shuttle was made in foreign countries by the lowest bidder, and it worked. Diede has won the bid to construct the new firehouse, union or nonunion, all must follow the plans and will be inspected as construction progresses. Diede is the general contractor, there might be sub-contractors for the plumbing, electrical wiring along with the concrete contractor.

     
  • Josh Morgan posted at 5:21 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    That's one of the risks you take when you're required to accept the lowest bid.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 4:47 pm on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4305

    I'm curious what action has been taken against the contractor that was responsible for Fire Station 2 and, according to Doell its, "bad craftsmanship."

    Maybe like the crooked former Lodi fireman who put the roof on my house, the contractor has declared bankruptcy and thumbed his nose at those who were sucked in by his deplorable "craftsmanship."

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:11 am on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Ms. Bobin, don't forget AM Stephens in the mix. Maybe there are some unmentioned factors pointing to the fact that these two local good old boys companies are always the low bidder? It's rumored that insider info is easy to come by if you're well connected or a good old boy or girl?

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:08 am on Mon, Jan 21, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Mr. Morgan, what's your solution to the new fire station being located on a site not owned by any of the good old boys? Or any other "deals" transacted by the city of Lodi? Your replies to my comments are always generic and your conspiracy theory posts never add any substance that's even worth reading. Why not closer to the railroad underpasses instead of halfway? And why on the east side of Cherokee rather than the west side? In my research the council started negotiating with Mr. Geweke several months ago and I understand the original asking price was too high, so council waited months for Geweke to bring his price down. Do you really think that $400,000 plus another $60,000 for escrow and closing costs is way too high for this barely an acre of property in the drug and gang infested part of Lodi? I see there are two lots listed in the public announcement, yet only one contract? If those two lots have seperate addresses shouldn't there be two transactions? Or are there? Mr. Bartlam needs to verify just who the other party was that he negotiated with and where that property was located. C'mon, einstein, give me your take on the good old boys and how they've been fleecing Lodi taxpayers for years through their manipulation of certain city council members.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:39 am on Sun, Jan 20, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4305

    "Construction will take 18 months to 2 years?"

    Did it take that long for the new police station and jail - didn't seem like it.

    Part one - no surprise that Geweke was involved in the transaction.

    Part two: will we be LESS surprised when the announcement is made that Diede Construction will be the contractor?

     
  • Josh Morgan posted at 10:10 am on Sun, Jan 20, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    I wondered how long it would take before Doug would respond with his good ol boy conspiracy theories. It's good to know that Doug has a much stronger background in fire science than the fire chief and his staff. This is also a project that was supported by ALL five council members. Doug is also now an expert in the field of commercial real estate. This man knows no bounds. We are fortunate to have him in our community.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:41 am on Sun, Jan 20, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    And I'd certainly like to know who the other property owner was that was negotiated with by Mr. Bartlam, a one time wannabe developer until the real estate market and economy crashed, because from the meeting minutes of the city council, the first and only council agenda item was that of the closed session meetings concerning the Geweke property, unless I overlooked the other "prospective" property owner and the agenda item in the council's meeting minutes of closed session hearings. I'm hoping that the city attorney has the answer to that question on Tuesday morning?

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:04 am on Sun, Jan 20, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Why wasn't the proximity of the railroad tracks taken into consideration? The fire station should have been located nearer Turner Road or Kettleman Lane due to the fact that valuable response time will be wasted for that engine to have to detour around to either Kettleman or Turner to use the only two underpasses that will allow them to access the area west of Main Street while a long freight train is passing through Lodi. In my opinion this purchase from Geweke, $400,000 for the blighted, gang and drug infested property and another $60,000 for escrow and closing costs, which I imagine will be handled by either Geweke or one of the three amigos "preferred" realtor/broker/ developers to put another $25,000 in their pocket for another nifty profit. When I first saw the city of Lodi was dickering with Geweke, but looking for a more suitable parcel in a better location at a much lower price, I knew then that the good old boys management and council would again rear their ugly head and play favorites with the players in their "system"?

     
  • Ed Walters posted at 2:17 pm on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 351

    While it is sad to see the Ford dealership go and never come back, since Ford owners must go to Stockton to have service work done on their vehicles. Getting Firefighters out of that mold infested dump they call home, an excellent suggestion and should have been done years ago. Time, tide and politics move ever so slow.

     
  • Winnie Goyle posted at 4:12 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    winnie Posts: 1

    This is a very good decision. Now you will be able to build a new fire station which will be free from rodents.
    Current affairs

     

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists