Pawtucket firefighters push to keep fire station open

Pawtucket Fire Station on Columbus Avenue scheduled to shut down.

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – The fight over the future of a Pawtucket fire station continues.

On Wednesday night, residents joined for a meeting with members of the fire department and the mayor, to talk about Station 3, which is located near McCoy Stadium.

At the meeting, the city council amended Mayor Donald Grebien’s budget by adding $100,000 to it to repair public safety buildings, but the president of the fire union believes the department only needs $50,000 to repair the aging fire station.

Union President Will Maher says, “I do believe there is a window of opportunity to keep the building open. I’m encouraged by the fact that money was put into the budget, which will give us a little more time to maintain the building and deal with the city and try to come up with a solution that’s amicable to everybody.”

But, Mayor Grebien says he is looking for $1.8 million in concessions to offset the cost of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant Pawtucket isn’t receiving this year.

“The $100,000 was never really about how much we could put into the building or how much we really needed to fix it. It was really about contractually what we could do to offset the $1.8 million. So when we couldn’t come to an agreement from a contractual obligation, our hands became locked.” Says Grebien.

Union President Maher notes that there are three fewer firefighters budgeted for 2016, which could create more costs in the end.

Mayor Grebien says the union has made a lot of concessions so far, but he will meet with the Pawtucket City Council and the firefighters union to see if there are any other places to find the $1.8 million, if not, then Station 3 will close.

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