HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Just to find Highland Park’s fire station is a challenge. It’s tucked away in the back of an industrial park near I-75, hardly located in the central part of town.
It’s essentially a warehouse the city converted into a working fire facility.
What’s frustrating fire fighters more than the rough conditions inside the space, is that the city won a coveted federal grant to build a new $2.6 million station. None of the money has been spent. Ground on a new fire headquarters has not been broken.
Meanwhile, Washington Township in Macomb County won a similar federal grant, and their new state-of-the-art station is already completed. This, as both Washington Township and Highland Park applied for their grants back in 2009.
Michigan was only awarded five of these grants statewide.
“We wasted no time. We got it done on time and on dime,” said Washington Township Supervisor Dan O’Leary.
O’Leary says the timing was everything.
“You’re never going to meet an opportunity like this where someone is willing to pay half or more. Some organizations didn’t have to pay anything when they applied for their grant. We agreed to pay half because we thought that would induce them (the federal government) to grant us the grant.” O’Leary said.
The mayor of Highland Park blames the States Historical Preservation Office for the delay in construction. Mayor Hubert Yopp tells Action News he’s waiting for the preservation department to approve demolition of Highland Park’s historic, and now-abandoned civic center, which is the designated location for the new station.
Action News reached out to the Historic Preservation Office on Wednesday afternoon. We were told no one was available to take our call and that someone would get back to us on Thursday.
In the meantime Highland Park’s fire fighters continue to work out of a warehouse with no date to break ground on a new station in sight.
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