Firehouse addition step closer to being funded
DGKN ARCHIVE PHOTO
East Wayne Fire District is awaiting to hear about funding to build an addition onto the Dalton firehouse. Equipment is housed in several buildings and an addition would enable most everything to be under the same roof, and include a community room, sleeping dorms and other benefits to EWFD members and the community.
DALTON East Wayne Fire District Chief Kyle Nussbaum is cautiously optimistic.
He received word recently that a Community Project Funding request to build an addition to the firehouse in Dalton made it to the final stage. The fire district is waiting on official documentation with details about proceeding with the project, including exactly how much funding East Wayne Fire District will receive.
To meet urgent needs of communities across the U.S., the House Appropriations Committee invited members of Congress to request funding for projects in their communities. The requests are subject to strict transparency and accountability rules.
Last year, U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzales, who represents Ohio’s 16th district in the House of Representatives, recommended area projects to receive funds and one of them was for an addition for East Wayne Fire District’s station along N Church Street. According to the signed financial disclosure letter available on the congressman’s website dated April 27, 2021, he requested $1.2 million for fiscal year 2022 and wrote the funding would be used for a 7,200 square foot addition.
“The project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because current facilities do not meet the needs for the EWFD or the communities that it serves,” Gonzalez wrote in the letter.
According to https://appropriations.house.gov/transparency/fiscal-year-2022, where the public can view all members’ requests, all requests are submitted to the Appropriations Committee as a first step in the process. The Committee carefully reviewed requests as it developed fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills. Only a handful of each member’s requests may be funded.
“The project request is for funding for an addition to the station allowing for all of the vehicles to be kept under one roof, a training and community room, office space, and separate men and women’s sleeping quarters,” according to a file on the website. “The project will allow for specialized equipment and vehicles to be easily accessible and in one location. This permits a more rapid response to the citizen’s needs.”
While Nussbaum has heard the fire district may not receive the exact amount of money requested, he is hoping the amount is as close as possible. That number will help dictate how large an addition the station can have. Community support will play a large role. Not only will an addition to the station benefit firefighters, but it will benefit the entire community.
When the fire station was built in 1984, the building certainly was adequate. Over the decades, equipment and needs have grown. Also, looking to the future, if the fire district is able to offer 24/7 staffing, more room will be required.
“Our footprint was great in its day when it was the Dalton Volunteer Fire Department,” Nussbaum said. “We continue to grow with equipment, size and scope of what we do.”
Dorms for sleeping crew members, office space, equipment under one roof, a community room and training props, and the ability and space to return to Community Risk Reduction Program for safety classes and CPR training and car seat installations are all on the wishlist. Now, the station has one office. When the fiscal officer is working in the office the fire chief basically has a mobile office.