Douglass Township officials are preparing to knock down the building that houses the Gilbertsville Fire and Rescue Company. The entire structure has fallen into disrepair, according to Manager Pete Hiryak.
"The building has a tremendous amount of problems," Hiryak said.
Rather than repair the facility, located at 1454 E. Philadelphia Ave., the board hopes to replace it with an emergency services building. A plan to construct a one-story structure to house the township's police department and the fire department is close to completion, according to Hiryak. He described it as functional and efficient.
Supervisors Chairman Josh Stouch expressed support for the creation of a fire tax to help fund the project, which is expected to cost between $2.1 million and $2.5 million. He said demolition could commence in April.
In 2014, a Montgomery County Pleas Court judge awarded the township ownership of the building, following a financial dispute between the fire company and the social club. The parties separated in 2005.
In June of 2017, the supervisors voted to evict the social club, known as Gilbertsville Fire Company No. 1, from the facility after local authorities received a complaint about the social club's handling of small games of chance five months earlier.
Municipal officials determined last year that the building could not be renovated following a walk through in May of 2109. According to Stouch, two professional engineers and the township's code enforcement officer delivered the recommendation. He also said the excessive damage has forced township officials to cancel voting in the facility's banquet hall.
"We had no idea the building was crumbling," said Stouch, who has served on the township's Emergency Services Board since 2013.
A Douglassville engineer who toured the facility identified cracks developing in the walls and a leaking roof. John Ruff, in a memo to Hiryak, also concluded that ...