By Tina Pappas
Construction is progressing well despite a minor setback for the new South End Firehouse, also known as Fire Company 3, located on Route 23. The Cedar Grove Planning Board gave its approval last year to demolish the prior structure and build a new, modern firehouse. Located at 154 Pompton Avenue, the property sits at the intersection of Pompton Avenue and Ridge Road. Demolition of the old firehouse took place in January and work began early in spring. The firehouse has temporarily relocated on Fairview Avenue at Firehouse Station 4.
The old firehouse was built in 1940 by what was originally the Cedar Grove Knoll Engine Company before the official name change to Cedar Grove Engine Company about a decade later. The adjacent property was purchased by the fire company and several firefighters and their families resided in the dwelling throughout the years.
Local officials say the new two-story firehouse will greatly benefit the community. The plan is to knock down the one-bay fire facility structure with its adjacent home, and construct a new 3,522 square foot, 2-story building containing two bays and a day room. The new building will also include an event hall. The structure will be a larger size than the previous building and will have an increased setback to provide for more vehicle space on the front of the property.
The property is owned by the Township. The cost of the project is being paid for by K. Hovnanian for approximately $2 million. The developer is also building a 460 housing unit property at the Essex County Hilltop Reservation. Phoenix Associates Construction, commercial builders, are constructing the project.
According to John D’Ascensio, director of community development, code enforcement for Cedar Grove, the May 12 rainstorm caused a retaining wall to collapse, delaying construction for about one week.
“When the retaining wall collapsed it affected the property next to it,” he said. “It was about a week delay but work has resumed and it’s coming along.”
D’Ascensio added that the estimated overall completion of the new building will be sometime in December.
The Cedar Grove Volunteer Fire Department recently honored Stanley Crowell, former fire chief who died on June 2. Crowell served the department for over 34 years, serving as chief in 2002-2003, and then as fire prevention director. Crowell’s uniform and American flag was displayed in the front of the project site the day of Stanley Crowell’s Funeral. The funeral procession consisted of a number of fire engines and firemen and other Township vehicles, along with members of Crowell’s family. The procession flanked the memorial with his family and community members paying their respects before proceeding away.