PROSPECT — Firefighters in town will rejoice in the lighting of a fire on Saturday.
The town will hold a mortgage burning ceremony at 1 p.m. in front of the Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect at 26 New Haven Road to celebrate making the last payment on the firehouse.
The town voted to purchase the property for the site of the new firehouse 30 years ago, Mayor Robert Chatfield said. It took another ten years for the firehouse to be built and officially opened.
“When the firehouse was built it was $3.6 million that they borrowed. Today, for the same building, it would be over $10 or $12 million,” Chatfield said.
Chatfield said the town had been paying $200,000 a year towards the principal, and the last interest payment was approximately $4,900.
The town’s original firehouse, which was located on Center Street near the Prospect Senior Center, was less than 8,000 square feet, Chatfield said. At 23,000 square feet, the current firehouse is nearly triple the size.
“Like anything else there was criticism it was too big. But it was built to last for at least 75 years,” Chatfield said. “All the trucks we own now would not fit in the old firehouse.”
In addition to serving as a firehouse, the building also has a social hall that is used by civic and town organizations, a classroom for firefighters, and the town’s emergency management offices.
As part of the mortgage burning ceremony the town will offer tours of the firehouse, Chatfield said.
“If you’ve never been in the building, here’s your chance,” Chatfield said.
Chatfield will also present a copy of the last bill, the letter from president of bank saying the mortgage is paid off, a copy of the original ballot of question, and a copy of the legal notice for the vote that ran in the newspaper to the fire department.
In addition to the firehouse, the town is paying off two road bonds and a triaxle truck this year, Chatfield said.
“This will give the town several hundred thousand dollars to work with for next year’s budget. Our credit is still good because we have paid off our bonds,” Chatfield said.