New York Sets Long Range Plans for Improvements
The New York City Planning Commission recently approved and sent to the Board of Estimate a proposed 1961 capital budget, which included $8,104,412 for the fire department. The allocation provides at least the initial funds for 23 new firehouses; reconstruction of an existing firehouse; reconstruction of an existing building for field communication maintenance for fire alarm system; reconstruction of an existing building and construction of a drill tower for the fire college and training school at Welfare Island; construction, extension and improvement of fire alarm communication system, including radio, in all boroughs, and a new central fire communications building in Staten Island.
More than a million dollars ($1,112,547.62) was allocated for new fireboats and related equipment, and $862,781.S4 for fire fighting vehicles and apparatus.
The Planning Commission points out that of 275 firehouses. 199 were built to accommodate horse-drawn equipment, 90 of them in the last century. The commission has been able to program only three firehouses a year. To bring the department’s physical plant reasonably up to date would require at least twice that number. Furthermore, the fire commissioner makes the legitimate complaint that highest priority is given to houses whose relocation is forced by housing or other public improvements, and not to the worst ones as requested by the department.
Public hearings on the proposed capital budget were scheduled for November 15 and 16 at City Hall.