Ocean Pines Fire Dept. Meeting Set For June 30

OCEAN PINES – A town hall meeting to discuss renovations at the Ocean Pines Vol. Fire Department (OPVFD) South Station will be held later this month.

On Thursday, June 30, the fire department will host a town hall meeting to talk about plans for a major renovation at its South Station. The event, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., will take place at the South Station.

“This will ensure all interested parties can hear from each other …,” a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page reads. “Representatives from a Manns Woodward associate as well as Chief [Steve] Grunewald and President [Dave] VanGasbeck will give a presentation followed by time for Q&A from the community.”

In late March, Gov. Larry Hogan submitted his $2.8 billion supplemental budget to the Maryland General Assembly. Included in the list of funded projects was a line item dedicating $1.35 million for renovations to the OPVFD South Station.

In April, VanGasbeck confirmed preparations for a renovation project at the facility began in earnest last year, when the department contracted Manns Woodward Studios to complete a feasibility study. Of the options presented to the department, officials opted for an extensive renovation of the facility, which includes the demolition of its living and administrative quarters and the addition of a two-story building.

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“The only thing we are keeping is the existing three bays …,” he said at the time. “A two-story addition will be attached, and another set of bays will be added to the other side.”

Officials say the decades-old facility currently fails to comply with standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and building codes. In addition to settling concrete in the administrative portion of the building, the department has also reported mold issues in the apparatus bay.

“This is not a project that lasts five years,” VanGasbeck said in April. “This is a 50-year build. Another thing to add is it’s not the Taj Mahal, it’s not a wish list. This is simply to comply with NFPA, ADA and building standards.”

In addition to the state contribution, the department reports it plans to fund a portion of the project itself. It is also seeking community support for the project.

The town hall meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the OPVFD South Station, located at 911 Ocean Parkway in Ocean Pines. Officials are also exploring the use of livestreaming services for those who cannot attend. For more information, call 410-641-8272 or email admin@opvfd.com.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.