The city of Livermore has been planning to complete renovations to its fire station for several years, and with the help of a $500,000 federal grant officials have recently applied for, the facility is well on its way to making some much-needed updates to its dated facilities, said Fire Chief Thomas Brown.

Should the city receive the grant, renovations ideas include remodeling a building behind the current fire station so that there is more head clearance to better accommodate trucks, adding a kitchen to the fire station, upgrading the bathrooms and the training room, and doing some general repairs to the inside and outside of the building. Parts of the original structure of the first station are 100 years old, Brown said, so these updates have been necessary for a while.

If the city does not receive the grant, at the very least a new roof is needed for the building as well as other general maintenance.

"Our station is in pretty bad shape," he said. "Whether we get the grant or not, we are going to have to spend some money on the building. If we get this grant, it's going to help out the city and county."

The estimated cost of the proposed renovations is $783,690. The city has applied for a $125,000 loan through Green River Area Development District to go toward this cost. Brown himself has been saving state aide for both the Livermore Volunteer Fire Department and the McLean County Eastern District station for the past two years, knowing these upgrades were planned, which totals about $44,000.

That, with donations from tax bills, means he has put aside $93,000 for the renovations.

Andrea Sheldon, Livermore city clerk, said discussions about renovating the fire station have been ongoing for the past several years, with the city "aggressively seeking funding" through a federal community development block grant program. City officials were unable to submit an application for the grant during the last funding cycle, but thanks to GRADD's help, they have submitted it this year.

The city should know whether or not they received the $125,000 GRADD loan later this month, Sheldon said.

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"We also will be using some reserve funds to help for the project," she said.

Both Brown and Sheldon said these upgrades are necessary to continue providing adequate emergency management in Livermore.

"Our fire department does a great job of working with what they have, but we want to be able to help them out and make it easier for them to serve our community," Sheldon said.

Brown said the head clearance of the current building alone makes it difficult for the fire station's 17 rostered volunteer firefighters to complete tasks. The last time they purchased a truck, he said, they had to pay specific attention to its height.

"And since trucks aren't getting any smaller, we really need to be looking to the future and figure out how to better house them," he said.

The city should hear back about the grant between August and December.

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