NORWICH – The Chenango County Bureau of Fire wants to revive talks with the City of Norwich that could result in the agency taking total ownership of the fire training center in the southern end of the city.
County Fire Coordinator Matthew Beckwith met with the Norwich Joint Committees to discuss the possibility during one of their regular meetings earlier this month. According to Beckwith, millions of dollars in grant funding is available to fix up and expand the training center on Prentice Street; however, even though the county owns the buildings on the property, the land is owned by the city, making the county ineligible for such grants.
“I had been undergoing conversations with the previous mayor about entertaining the possibility of the county taking that property, seeing that we bought the buildings,” said Beckwith, noting that the county has already been denied grants because it doesn’t hold a deed. One of those grants came by way of the U.S. Air Force. Service members would construct new buildings at the training center and count it as “engineer training” while the county would benefit from free labor, footing just the cost of building materials.