By Matt Jaworski, Labor Citizen Writer
The Labor Citizen: February 2016
Local tradesmen and tradeswomen are busy making the Village of Newburgh Heights a safer community.
Construction began in January, under a Project Labor Agreement with the Cleveland Building Trades, to turn a vacant warehouse into a new fire station and service department garage.
The contractor, R.L. Hill Management, won the bid on the $2 million project that will move the fire department from its current location on East 49th Street into the renovated structure on Harvard Avenue.
According to Mayor Trevor Elkins, moving the location of the fire station was an easy decision for the Village Council to make. The current fire station, originally built in 1943 and expanded in 1965, is essentially obsolete.
Several years ago, the building was condemned and the village had to spend a lot of money to fix all the violations. By moving into the warehouse on Harvard Avenue, Newburgh Heights expects to save nearly $30,000 a year in maintenance and other repairs.
Crews are busy gutting the inside of the warehouse. Work includes all new electrical, plumbing, drainage and HVAC/exhaust systems. In addition to concrete, drywall and flooring, some masonry work and sheet metal work will be done as well.
Mayor Trevor Elkins signed the PLA in November, saying it was the right thing to do and explained that a PLA is a great way to support local labor. The Village of Newburgh Heights is about 5 miles south of Cleveland.
“Our community is middle class. We have a strong union and labor base of supporters and members. Several members of council are or have been union stewards,” Elkins said.
Besides supporting local workers, the Mayor noted the importance of using a well-trained, skilled and qualified workforce.
“It was a no-brainer,” said Elkins. “Numerous studies have shown trained, skilled labor delivers quality work on time, and on, or sometimes, under budget. All these factors made it an easy decision.”
Workers have until the end of June to complete the work on what the mayor calls an important safety project.
By moving to Harvard Avenue, the firefighters and paramedics will now have easier access to the main roads, without major traffic issues. The new station will come equipped with a signalized traffic light that will stop traffic whenever emergency responders go out on a call.
For the village’s roughly 2,100 residents and the surrounding communities along Interstate 77 that receive mutual aid assistance, the new location should result in quicker response times to emergency calls.