Ground broken for new Parkersburg fire station

Construction expected to be done in spring

Photo by Evan Bevins From left, Parkersburg City Councilmen Bob Mercer and Dave McCrady, Pickering Associates President Ryan Taylor, Councilmen Mike Reynolds, J.R. Carpenter and John Reed, Mayor Tom Joyce, Fire Chief Jason Matthews, Councilman Jeff Fox, Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl and Councilman Eric Barber pose for a photo Wednesday at the groundbreaking for the city’s new fire station 2 at 16th and Covert streets. Construction is expected to be completed in May or June.

PARKERSBURG — Ground was broken Wednesday on the first of three planned new fire stations in Parkersburg.

“We’ve spent countless hours … to get us here today,” Fire Chief Jason Matthews said at the 16th and Covert Street site where fire station 2 stood for 86 years until last week. “We’re ready to start moving dirt.”

Station 2 was built in 1932, with station 3 at 13th and Liberty streets and station 4 at Emerson and West Virginia avenues also constructed during the Great Depression. All three have suffered from a variety of structural issues in recent years, among them leaking roofs and basements, shifting foundations and garages barely large enough for modern fire trucks.

In 2016, City Council allocated nearly $250,000 to the project, money that has primarily been used in the design work by Pickering Associates and to acquire property adjacent to station 2.

Councilman J.R. Carpenter, one of two members on that council and the current one, said Wednesday he was glad to see construction starting.

Photo by Evan Bevins Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, right, speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for fire station No. 2 Wednesday at 16th and Covert streets as Fire Chief Jason Matthews listens. The previous fire station there was demolished last week.

“We’re making progress for the community,” he said.

Pickering worked closely with Matthews and a group of six firefighters as they designed the station. The 6,000 square foot block structure will include a kitchen, weight room, sleeping quarters for six firefighters, separate laundry facilities for turnout gear and regular items, provisions for backup power and a community room. With the vehicle bay separated from the living quarters, “this new station will be a lot safer,” Matthews said.

Grae-Con Construction is the general contractor on the project. The station is expected to be completed in May or June, Pickering Associates President Ryan Taylor said.

“All of the weather-sensitive work should be taken care of” in plenty of time, he said. “You want to get up out of the mud before winter starts, and they’re going to get that done.”

The existing station was razed Sept. 10. Firefighters based there have been operating out of station 1 at the Municipal Building for about five weeks.

Photo by Evan Bevins A groundbreaking was held Wednesday afternoon at 16th and Covert streets in Parkersburg, where fire station No. 2 was torn down last week and the new station will be built over the next eight months.

The project is being funded with a $1.5 million federal loan.

Joyce said the focus for the other two stations at this point is on acquiring property. If possible, he said, he’d like to see both projects put out for bid at the same time and even built simultaneously to save money.