Woodmont's plans for new borough hall stalled at aldermen's meeting

After several years of planning and securing funds for a new borough hall, Woodmont officials will have to wait a little longer to see if the city lets them have old Fire Station Number 5.

The Board of Aldermen was scheduled to vote Monday night on whether 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 planned 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 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.

If the borough doesn’t get the building, then it won’t get the grant to fix it up, some officials pointed out.

Some aldermen, including Anthony Giannattasio, appeared to favor turning the station over to the borough. But they wanted more information. Giannattasio asked for a market value of the building. Mayor Ben Blake said it’s about $540,000, a little bit more than Fire Station Number 6 on Melba Street which, according to Monday night’s agenda, the city planned to put up for auction.

Some aldermen asked for more detailed information, like a list of signatures from Woodmont residents who support a new borough hall. 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.

Alderman Paula Smith said the problem she and some of the others have 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.

Bonessi said he would gather up what information the aldermen want and share that with them.