Chief John Brogan took the podium at the official opening of Scarsdale’s state-of-the-art public safety building on Saturday May 12 and said it all, with a “Hallelujah.” The building has been in the works since 2001 and it has been a long road to hoe for all involved.
According to Village Manager Al Gatta, planning for the new facility began in 2001 when someone slipped in the original 1924 building. As there were no closets for wet fire clothes, a firefighter returned to the old facility, dripped water on the floor, and someone fell, instigating a call to Gatta that started the ball rolling. The Village began to plan a new building that would haveadequate closet space and much more. In the wake of 9/11, there was a call for updated communications equipment and emergency response capabilities to respond in the event of a large-scale attack. In addition, locker rooms and dormitories were needed for female employees, more space and equipment was required for record-keeping and the police wanted to install a firing range so that Scarsdale’s officers could train here rather than travel for training.
Architects Peter F. Gaito and Associates were retained to design an expanded building on the existing site. Plans called for the renovation of the 17,250 square feet of existing space and an addition of 8,950 square feet. The new building would be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
The project extended over the terms of four Mayors and involved countless change orders and revisions when it was discovered that the old building lacked a foundation and that the height of the bays for the fire trucks could not accommodate the equipment. Furthermore, fuel tanks were found underground, and steel support beams and bearing walls were not where they were shown on the plans. Even the opening ceremony was delayed as the police and firefighters actually moved into the new building over six months ago in the fall of 2011. Speaking at the ceremony on Saturday, Fire Chief Thomas M. Cain said he was “so happy and so relieved that the project is finished.”
On Saturday so many who were involved in the ten year project turned out to participate in the official openingincluding Mayor Miriam Flisser and former Mayor Carolyn Stevens, Village Trustees Brodsky, Eisenman, Mark, Lee and Steves, former Trustees Hochvert and Rilander, and Al Gatta, Steve Pappalardo and John Goodwin from the Village Manager’s office. Police Chief John Brogan and Fire Chief Thomas Cain and many policemen and firefighters were on hand along with Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, County Legislator Bill Ryan and Deputy County Executive Ken Plunkett.
All who spoke mentioned the features of the new facility, echoed community pride and thanked everyone for their perseverance.
During Al Gatta’s remarks there was a fire call and his speech was drowned out by the sound of sirens roaring down Fenimore Road. Police Chief Brogan seized the day to promote the police, saying, “ While the Fire Department makes all this noise coming and going, the police are already out there.”
The moving ceremony began with the Police Emerald Society playing the pipes and drums followed by a presentation from the color guard. There was an invocation from Reverend Monsignor John T. Ferry of IHM followed by remarks from Chiefs Brogan and Cain, Mayor Flisser, Village Manager Gatta, Assemblywoman Paulin, Legislator Ryan and Deputy County Executive Plunkett.
Next was the official ribbon cutting with Mayor Flisser doing the honors. The Greenacres Neighborhood Association honored the opening of the building and the neighborhood’s 100th anniversary with the contribution of a Heritage River Birch tree for the building entrance. Neighborhood Association President Kathy Steves called the tree a house warming present for the building and thanked and congratulated all.