Should it stay or should it go? Residents express feelings for fire museum in second public meeting |

Should it stay or should it go? Residents express feelings for fire museum in second public meeting

Jennifer Moore

One man does not stand alone with his opinion of the Windsor-Severance Fire Protection District fire museum.

In the second fire museum public meeting Wednesday night at the Windsor Community Recreation Center to determine the fate of the museum, 10 more residents raised their hands in favor of keeping it at its current location on 5th Street.

In the first public meeting on July 2, only one man voted for it to stay, while 29 others voted to have it be relocated on 6th street, west of the old bus depot. Wednesday, 15 people said it should be relocated and 14 others remained neutral.

Long-time Windsor residents Bob Starck and Tim Bernhardt are both in support of rebuilding the museum where it stood before the May 22 tornado that ripped through Boardwalk Park.

“When you go out to 5th and Main and you look to the lake, you can’t see the lake,” Bernhardt said. “I keep hearing people say it’s blocking the view of the lake. It’s not blocking the view of the lake, there is no view of the lake.”

“I support building the museum where it is,” Starck added. “This is not the fire department’s shrine. It’s an education tool. It’s about the history of the fire department, and the fire department’s service.”

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Windsor resident Carla Lind sided with the majority of the voters in favor of moving the museum.

“Many years ago I was working with a group of people to do something about the downtown area. We felt very strongly that the lake was a very intricate part of downtown,” Lind said. “I was very excited when the museum was going to be built, but I was in dismay when I saw where it went. So I would like to see it moved and I think we can put our heads together and find a way to move it.”

Also during the meeting, residents were presented with preliminary costs to rebuilding the museum in a different location. According to Windsor parks and recreation director Melissa Chew, it will cost $527,235 to rebuild from the ground up. She said the number does not include a list of other amenities, including site lighting, sidewalks, landscaping, brick pavers, structural fill, drainage, street curbs, parking inspections, design and consultant fees, storage fees, fire department personnel, removal of the old foundation and relocating the irrigation time clock. About $420,000-$440,000 will be covered by the insurance, so an additional $120,000 plus the costs of what is on the list will need to made.

Windsor-Severance fire marshal Mike Davis told the group the fire district is not interested in any redesign of the museum, and on behalf of the board he hopes construction starts in the next 60 days.

“What we are trying to do is get that building relocated and keep it in the district,” Davis said. “We will move that structure over west of the depot, as contested, in its exact floor plan as it sits today.”

In other meeting agenda, a group of nine residents split up to talk about fundraising efforts.

Dallas Everhart, who served as the mediator for both meetings and is assisting Windsor town manager Kelly Arnold on the tornado recovery, said the next steps include reporting about what happened in each of the meetings, the votes and fundraising efforts to Arnold, who will then make a presentation to the Windsor Town Board.

“It’s a process, and we hope to get word out as quickly as possible,” Everhart said.