"It really was in deplorable shape," said Joseph Peluso, the city's director of Environmental Services, about the nearly 100-year-old building. "If it was a residential building it would have been condemned a while ago. The firefighters that have worked out of that building have really put up with a lot."
In June of 2002, the city raised slightly over $900,000 in bond money to renovate the building's interior, and portions of the exterior, and that work is nearly halfway complete, said Peluso. "It's our goal to have facility open and fully operational by July 1."
In the meantime the company that was based out of the firehouse found a temporary home at the Jersey City firehouse on Palisade Avenue.
Mayor David Roberts, a former firefighter himself, added this is an important project for the city.
"We want to have a safe, functional, and renovated firehouse and we are efficiently working toward that end," said Roberts Thursday.
Peluso said the renovations are being undertaken in several phases. The first phase, which is currently under way, is to completely replace the apparatus floor. This is the steel and concrete decking on which the fire trucks actually sit, said Peluso. He added that after nearly decades of use, the floor had become structurally unsound and needed to be completely replaced.
On the building's exterior, scaffolding has also recently been erected to repair the decorative lentils and arches that line the building's roof.
Coinciding with this work will be phase two, which is slated to begin in about two weeks, said Peluso. Workers will begin renovating the bedrooms, bathroom and kitchens.
"This work is well overdue," said Peluso. "I've been working in Hoboken for 34 years, and the building hasn't seen any major renovations. There been some patchwork here and there, but nothing like this."
Applying for more funding
While current funding will pay to get the facility into working condition and complete the internal renovations, the city is still seeking additional funding to restore many of the exterior's historical features.
"We are currently in the processes of applying for historic preservation grants that will hopefully fund the restoration of the building's exterior," said Peluso. He added that, all told, the entire project will cost between $1.5 and $2 million, if the city is able to secure the grant for which it is applying.