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As the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department adds bigger and better equipment to their firefighting arsenal, they are starting to feel confined in older stations.
We’ve out grown where we are,” said Chief Nathan Nation, of the station in Elk Creek. “The equipment barely fits. You can’t walk around the trucks without opening the bay door.”
The brown, metal firehouse, nestled between Elk Creek Grocery and building filled with dentists, doctors and physical therapists, has just enough room for one tanker and engine.
Nation said when the engine is parked inside, it touches the back wall. The 36 ft. by 36 ft. building also has a restroom, but little else. To remedy the lack of space, the fire protection district recently purchased some land on the north side of the grocery.
Last Friday, Nation was walking around the new site with Fire District Chairman Glen Goebel and Project Manager Chris Whitaker of Whitaker 2 Architects in Shelbyville.
“We’re out here trying to determine how to lay this building out, where to put the parking, so we have to move as little dirt as possible,” said Goebel.
For $60,000, the fire department secured .6 acre off KY-155/55 and would like to build a 3,700 sq. ft. building with three bays and living quarters. Nation said his hopes were to eventually have one or more firefighters living full-time in the station.
Nation said the fire board wanted to remain within proximity to the existing station so as to not affect insurance rates of the residents currently served by the Elk Creek station. He said rates could jump by 50 percent if homeowners found themselves further than five road miles away.
“The biggest advantage is having firefighters there that are ready to respond to calls,” said Nation.
Currently, 70 percent of the department’s runs are in Elk Creek and Taylorsville, said Nation, the two most highly populated areas of the county.
Nation said that estimates have placed the cost of construction around $240,000 and initially, he applied for a $725,900 FEMA grant with a 15% match in local funds to help pay for the project.
“But because of all the requirements we are not sure we will even take the funding if awarded because of the federal government waste, requirements and possible overruns in cost we would have to pay. We think at the end of the day we can complete the project cheaper on our own,” said Nation.
Some of the added costs involved with the FEMA grant include archeological surveys, hiring construction workers at a prevailing wage and requirements for constructing a green building.
“I think one way or another, we are going to proceed,” said Nation.
If all goes well, Nation said the project could go out for bid by November with a possible completion in March 2010. Designs for the station should be done by next month.
“If we get this thing up, I think people in Elk Creek are going to be pleased,” said Goebel.
Other FEMA grants TSCFD is seeking:
• A $171,000 grant for a pumper/tanker with a $9,000 local fund match.
• A $67,450 grant for equipment such as a gear washer, five-inch hose and SCBA compressor/fill station with a $3,550 local fund match.
• A $109,962 fire prevention grant to hire one firefighter for a year and provide a countywide smoke alarm installation program. This grant has a $5,788 local fund match.
Nation also said he is anticipating that the department’s new tanker that was awarded by a 2008 grant should be completed within a month.