According to a report from Johnson City Press, Johnson City (TN) Fire Department (JCFD) Interim Chief David Bell says the department will move forward with plans to construct a new training facility with the hopes that Washington County will help with funding needed to build the facility.
Bell says that he’s requested a capital budget from the city for $450,000. The county agencies would have access to the training ground to conduct classroom and live action hands-on experience at the range of training stations that will be on the site.
For Washington County residents, if volunteer departments can access the facility, it could lower their departments’ ISO ratings, which will offer residents a lower homeowners insurance cost.
The four-acre plot of land behind Station 7 on West Walnut Street is owned by Johnson City and has acted as a training facility in the past. Access to the property is on Carter Sells Road.
Bell said the project will forge ahead regardless of county monies, but he hopes the county will help.
Bell didn’t state how much money he wanted from the county, but Johnson City lost $100,000 per year in funding from the county starting in 2012 because the money was going to the city’s general fund rather than directly to the JCFD’s budget.
The Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is also on board with the facility, but not the monetary support. The EMA would be directly involved because of state law, which says that the agency provides training for emergency responders.
Bell stressed to the committee that, with the county’s support, the facility could be a premier location for fire training.