UPDATE 8/7/12 @ 9:45 a.m.
WILKESVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for August 15 for a new Wilkesville Volunteer Fire Department station.
The new station is 3,520 square feet with four bays and office space for meetings and trainings. The new facility can house all of the county's equipment, including the largest fire truck, which is too long for the current station.
The project cost about $237,000 and was funded through a Neighborhood Revitalization Project grant and a $30,000 donation from the Rolling Hills Generating Station.
The old station will be tuned into a Vinton County EMS substation.
But what happens when there's not enough tax money to pay for the basics?
WSAZ.com found out how one small community is getting some big time upgrades after doing its homework.
All involved say breaking ground on a new Wilkesville firehouse could not come too soon. The site is where the Vinton County town's only school once stood.
The current fire station goes back to the 1950s. And firefighters say replacing the outdated facility will bring the community both immediate and long-term benefits.
“It will be longer, and we can fit a full-sized fire truck inside," Chief John Wood said. "It will help with equipment and stuff.”
Assistant Chief John Collins said, “The new station will have a meeting and training room. The current one does not. This means we can better train firefighters and keep up our state mandates on our training schedules.”
But this new quarter million dollar firehouse is just part of a $360,000 project that’s now a go for greater Wilkesville. It's a project that will include new new and upgraded sidewalks, street paving and a community shelter.
But where did the money come from? When a community can't afford a tax hike, citizens must prove they increasingly deserve to get government grant money. That's what happened for Wilkesville.
“In a survey we found that 75 percent of the households here are low to moderate incomes," project Developer Ken Reed said "And, it's very hard for volunteer fire departments to find the resources to keep up with modern standards.”
Township Trustee Roger Wells said, “We've been working on this for several years. We couldn't do it without government grants, and there was no increase in taxes.”
Upgrading basic community necessities -- led by a new fire station -- does away with cause for alarm, except a fire alarm.
Weather permitting, the new Wilkesville fire station will be open by the New Year.
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