NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk firefighters are expected this week to move back onto the Connecticut Avenue property they had occupied for years, but into a new structure, a brand spanking new, $16 million firehouse.
Fire administration personnel are moving in Tuesday, Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said last week. Firefighters are moving in Friday, making it an active firehouse.
Construction of the striking facility at 121 Connecticut Ave. began more than a year ago, in June 2012. It replaces the Volk Fire Station, which was built in 1963 and was had become increasingly dilapidated, city officials said. Fixing the old fire station and making it energy efficient would have been prohibitively expensive, officials said.
While Common Councilman and former Democratic mayoral candidate Matt Miklave called the new station a “monstrosity” and the “Taj Mahal,” the project gained nearly unanimous, bipartisan support from the Common Council when final plans were presented in 2011.
There was talk of buying property in another part of town for a new firehouse but officials decided instead to squeeze everything they need onto the existing lot with a three-story structure that includes a new, high-tech emergency operations center on the third floor paid for with a federal grant. The bottom floor includes a training facility for firefighters. The training wall features a 2-inch-thick slab of steel from the World Trade Center, the city’s website says.
A ribbon cutting for the new station is expected in early October.
McCarthy said the flag will go up Friday. He said, “It’s not a firehouse until the flag flies.”