‘You name it, they’re coming to Macomb Township’

Public safety building opens on 23 Mile

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 23, 2021

 A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Sept. 8 in Macomb Township for the new Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building. The nearly 38,000-square-foot building is utilized by the Macomb Township Fire Department and Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Sept. 8 in Macomb Township for the new Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building. The nearly 38,000-square-foot building is utilized by the Macomb Township Fire Department and Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

Advertisement

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — It was years in the making.

A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony for the newly constructed Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building took place Sept. 8 in Macomb Township.

The building is located at 19925 23 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road. It is 37,700 square feet and is equipped with high-efficiency lighting, HVAC units and plumbing fixtures that will reduce future operational costs.  

At the ceremony, Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said when he interviewed to be chief in 2006, the demolition and building of a new fire station No. 1 was discussed. In February 2020, the station was demolished.

Phillips shared the story from December 2015 when then Supervisor Janet Dunn informed him the township would have a new fire station.

“She informed me they received notification that the federal government had funded the widening of 23 Mile Road and the fire station and substation had to be torn down,” he said.  

Phillips, who was the owner’s representative, oversaw construction for the project.

Although it was not completed as originally planned, Phillips said he is proud to report the project came in under budget.

The building is designed to accommodate 25 firefighters and up to 60 law enforcement officers.

The $12.5 million building features five drive-through fire apparatus bays, a 14-car garage for Macomb County Sheriff’s Office vehicles, administrative offices for both the fire department and the Sheriff’s Office, and living and sleeping quarters for the on-duty firefighters; it will also serve as the township’s emergency operation center during a large-scale emergency situation.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said 20 years ago, he worked out of the substation in a 20-by-20 room.

Back then, he said, there were three vehicles to share each shift; Macomb Township’s population was below 20,000; Hall Road was two lanes; and 21 Mile Road was a dirt road.

“Now, the population is close to 90,000, we have retail, manufacturing, housing is booming, medical offices, hospital, car dealerships,” Wickersham said. “You name it, they’re coming to Macomb Township. Hall Road is four lanes in both directions, and 21 Mile Road is finally paved.”  

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel cited the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as significant events that highlight the importance of public safety.

“I truly believe that public safety is at heart with anyone who lives in a community,” he said. “People don’t move to places they don’t feel safe.”

Hackel mentioned that the building is a representation of the Macomb Township community members who want to fund their law enforcement and public safety so they know they have a safe community.

Macomb Township Fire Captain David Koss, son of the building’s namesake, remarked that his dad, along with many residents, started the Macomb Township Fire Department in 1952.

At that time, the department had one fire pumper and a single station.

“Dad’s commitment to this community as chief continued for many years,” Koss said.

Joseph Koss died in 1977.

David Koss said the fire phone was the most important phone in the family home, across the street from the fire station.

“When it rang, the residents were calling for help in time of emergency,” he said.

Koss noted that each member of his family served the department, over 150 years of service.   

Macomb Township Supervisor Frank Viviano said everyone who touched the project is owed a debt of thanks.

“A project like this doesn’t come together unless there is a spirit of cooperation,” he said.

Viviano said the facility allows the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office and fire department to do the best they can do for the residents.

“It’s hard enough to bring a project of this size together,” Viviano said. “To do it during a pandemic is even harder. Circumstances became extraordinary, and what we ended up with is an amazing facility.”

The project’s general contractor was Bernco Inc. Engineering and architect services were completed by Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick, Inc. and Wakely Associates.

Advertisement