Board votes to sell Fire Station 5 to Woodmont for $1

After several years of planning, Woodmont officials Monday got permission from Milford’s Board of Aldermen Monday night to take over Fire Station Number 5 and use it for their new borough hall.

The Board of Aldermen voted to give Woodmont the old fire station for $1. The city isn't using the station anymore because it was replaced with the new East Side Fire Station. The borough plans to use the old Number 5 as a community center and new borough hall, and recently decided it would also serve as an emergency shelter for the area.

Planning has been going on for about three years on the east side of Milford, where Woodmont officials have met many times over the past couple of years to plan and approve a plan to acquire the building once the city decommissioned it. Last year, the borough got word that it would receive a $500,000 state grant to help renovate Fire Station No. 5.

The funding is due to come from a STEAP grant, which promotes community conservation and development.

The Woodmont Board of Burgesses also plans to sell the existing borough hall, which was once a two-room schoolhouse, and add the proceeds to help renovate the firehouse.

Transfer of the station was stalled last month when aldermen said they had questions they wanted answered before turning the station over to the borough.

Some aldermen wanted to be sure that the borough residents actually wanted the old firehouse, as it may end up costing them money in upkeep.

Borough Warden Ed Bonessi explained that the borough has its own town meeting form of government, and the borough voted to fund the project at open and public meetings. He said he thought that showed ample support.

Furthermore, the borough recently held its annual meeting and the residents voted in support of acquiring the building.

Board of Aldermen Chairman Phil Vetro said he attended the annual meeting, which is a throwback to older times when residents met to make decisions about their neighborhoods and government. Vetro said he was impressed with the enthusiasm at the meeting, and he told the  Woodmont residents Monday night that he is proud to represent them.

Alderman Paula Smith said the problem she has is that when the city agreed to build the new East Side Fire Station, the belief was that the city would recoup some of that money by selling Fire Stations 5 and 6.

She and Alderman Robert Nunno voted against transferring the station to the borough. Nunno said he didn’t think it was a good place for an emergency shelter, and spoke against the plan on several other fronts too. The other aldermen voted in favor, some saying it is a “win win” for the city and the borough.