So close and yet so far. FDNY won’t sign off on federal funds for new volunteer firehouse in Queens.

The picture above, by Michael Appleton of The New York Times, shows the century old firehouse of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department in Queens, NY. It’s the same building that is in the picture below from the department’s website.

For a long time the volunteers have been looking to move from the cramped quarters. They secured property in the 1990s and raised a lot of money. Department members thought the goal was reachable in 2005 after $2 million in federal transportation money was secured from the federal government with the help of Representative Anthony Weiner and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It turns out they can’t use that money without the backing of New York City’s Department of Transportation. In an article by James Angelos the city’s approval just isn’t happening. Here are some excerpts:

… Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said that the city would not sponsor the project for several reasons, one of them being that the earmarked money falls short of the $5.9 million that the city estimates as the construction cost — far higher than the volunteers’ own estimate of $2.6 million — and the city, he said, would be responsible for the difference.

“There is a significant cost to the city for sponsoring the proposal,” he said. “Considering that the F.D.N.Y. does not support it, we can’t justify the expense.”

Steve Ritea, a Fire Department spokesman, added: “The F.D.N.Y. already provides more than adequate coverage in that area. Any additional funds allotted for fire protection in the city, especially in these difficult economic times, would be best utilized by the F.D.N.Y.”

Broad Channel is one of 10 volunteer departments still operating in the city.

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