Forest Park Fire Station Credit: Igor Studenkov/Staff Reporter

The Forest Park Village Council voted unanimously during its July 11 meeting to go out to bid for the fire station roof repair contract, which Commissioner of Public Health and Safety Maria Maxham said was long overdue.

During the June 27 budget meeting, roof replacement was described as one of the priority projects the village hoped to get done this fiscal year. Village Administrator Moses Amidei is recommending the staff use up to $125,000 in American Rescue Plan Act stimulus funding to cover the expense. He told the Review this figure represents the upper limit, and he hopes bids will come in lower.

According to the staff report, the roof of the fire station, located at 7637 Wilcox St. next to village hall, is past its useful life, and repairing the roof needs to happen before any other maintenance on the building, including replacing the rooftop air-conditioning units, replacing the windows, and redoing building insulation. Staff recommended repairing the roof as soon as possible. 

During the July 11 meeting, Maxham said she felt that the project “should have been done a long time ago.” About 5-6 months ago, she learned there was a leak on the roof and asked Fire Chief Phil Chiappetta to give her a tour. She was “pretty alarmed” by what she saw.

“Water spots on the ceiling, bins out there collecting water, yard signs stuck for, I don’t know, insulation or whatever,” Maxham said. “I feel really bad that this is above the living quarters of firefighters, and wish this was done sooner, and I’m really glad that we’re doing it now.”

Amidei said he recommended using the ARPA funds to pay for roof replacements because he expected it would take a few more years for the state funding for these kinds of projects to materialize. He emphasized that the village council has to approve any ARPA expenditure. 

In his proposal for ARPA budget spending, Amidei also recommended using another $10,000 for project consulting services. Once the roof replacement project is done, he recommended using $45,000 to replace the roof air-conditioning units. For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which will begin in July 1, 2023, he recommended using $50,000 to upgrade fire station insulation and $90,000 to replace the fire station windows.

Amidei emphasized that those figures are preliminary as well and subject to the village council approval.