EAST PROVIDENCE — U.S. Senator Jack Reed was among the honored guests Sunday afternoon, June 22, as the East Providence Fire Department formally opened its renovated Station No. 4 on Wampanoag Trail.
City Manager Paul Lemont served as master of ceremonies for the event, which included brief remarks by dignitaries and an open house for local resident to review the remodeled structure.
Mr. Lemont, who helped finally bring the project to a conclusion since returning to his position in November of 2013, noted the work at both Station 4 and that of the EPFD headquarters at Station 1 on South Broadway has had its share of “trials and tribulations.”
Mr. Lemont reminded those who might have remembered and the younger folks in attendance the site where Station 4 sits was once owned by the Kent Family, which used to grow squash among other uses of the land.
In acknowledging Sen. Reed’s contributions to the renovations, Mr. Lemont said, “In all my years in politics and in operation the City of East Providence there was one go-to guy. Whenever we’ve had a real problem, we’d say let’s call the Senator…Sen. Jack Reed is the guy who can see us through this problem.”
Sen. Reed was instrumental in both procuring the initial funding for the $6-plus million project to renovate both stations through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and via the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). He also helped the city gain extensions on deadlines for use of the funding for the construction, which due to delays and design changes has taken over 18 months to complete.
“The entire (Rhode Island) congressional delegation actively engaged in making the case for the City of East Providence,” Sen. Reed said.
He added, “It’s our duty to give the brave and courageous men and women of the fire department and the police department the most modern equipment to protect the community.”
Hearing that remark, Mr. Lemont next quipped, “Sen. Reed, you did such a good job with getting the FEMA money for this project, we’ve got a police station that needs some work.”
EPFD Chief Oscar Elmasian concluded the ceremony by first noting the efforts of Battalion Chief Glenn Quick and former Chief Joe Kluzcnik for pursuing the grant money. The chief referenced the new structure is up to the latest fire industry and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards.
Finally, Chief Elmasian said, “It’s good to be back home at 66 Wampanoag Trail to serve the people of the district the way we should.”
With work at Station 4 complete, both Mr. Lemont and Sen. Reed said they expect to hold a similar ceremony in the next few weeks once Station 1 is likewise finished.