Kimball Township Getting Upgraded Fire Station

Kimball Township has purchased an adjoining lot to its existing Fire Station 1 on Allen Road as part of a $1.4 million remodel and addition that would expand the current structure from about 6,000 square feet to about 9,000 square feet.

On Tuesday, the township submitted a preliminary application for a USDA Rural Development loan.

Township officials said the remodel and addition is necessary to bring an aging structure — believed to date back to the late 1940s or early 1950s — up to current firefighting requirements.

“The condition of the building is deteriorating to the point where putting a vehicle in there, we approach with caution,” Kimball Township Fire Chief Ed Gratz said.

“It doesn’t meet the needs of the department anymore. We’re just trying to get it updated so we can provide the service we need to the community.”

The existing structure has asbestos in floor and ceiling tiles, deep cracks in the flooring in the fire bay, and little room for larger, more modern trucks.

“If you just look at the condition of the old station, it’s pretty run down,” Kimball Township Supervisor Rob Usakowski said. “The bays for the truck are smaller than today’s standard, so any time we get a new truck we have to custom build to make it fit.”

In its preliminary application to the USDA, the township asked for a $1 million loan. The interest on the 40-year loan would be locked in at the time of its approval. Usakowski estimated the interest rate would be at about 2.5 percent.

He expects to hear back on the preliminary application within two weeks.

Tina Ritter is a Kimball Township trustee and member of a committee to review long-term improvements at the station. The committee concluded the station no longer met the needs of modern firefighting.

Between the two stations, Kimball Township Fire Department has six apparatus — a truck, pumper/tanker, and fire engine at each station. Station 2 also has a trailer and all-terrain vehicle.

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