During the Tuesday, Oct. 19, Roanoke Town Council meeting, Fire Chief Brandon Taylor presented a proposal for a fire station for Roanoke.
Taylor started by giving the council some history on the building they currently use to house the fire department.
The town purchased the building in the early 1980s and it was a car dealership at the time.
“The fire department was given the back garage to use as a fire station,” Taylor explained.
Taylor says that when the fire department started using that building, the fire trucks were 20-foot long.
“When that was looked at for the fire station, we had four apparatus and nothing else in that area. And, obviously, back in that time that was adequate space… a perfect set-up for what the department needed,” Taylor said. “Since then, the department has grown. As the department grows, the apparatus grows, our needs grow, everything grows.”
Today, the fire department’s trucks are 32-foot to 37-foot long. Along with the size growing, the amount of vehicles has grown as well. The fire department now houses five apparatus and an ambulance in the same amount of space.Taylor says they also built a training/meeting room “to do what they could do to get by.”
The building is also lacking in several other areas, including not having an exhaust system, no gear or bunkrooms and inadequate parking for the volunteer firefighters. Another issue is that it doesn’t have proper floor drains, so they have to wash their trucks in the street.
“We have amazing equipment, great guys. Don’t get me wrong. The town has blessed us with very nice equipment. We are very fortunate of that,” Taylor said. “But we’re going to get to the point where we can’t kick this can down the road any longer.”
Taylor had an architectural firm draw up a plan for the building and presented a blueprint to the council. A possible location is yet to be determined.
The blueprint included the truck bays, gear room and a larger training room that could be used as a community center. The plan also included a second story that would have water hookups, but would be unfinished for now. Taylor says they want the second story in the event that they have to have a bunkroom if they ever need to hire on paid staffing. There would also be a big storage room in the second story.
“Roanoke is growing. We’re the fastest growing community in Huntington County, so we’ve got to look to the future,” Taylor said.
Councilman Nick Scheer asked if the proposal included purchase of land in the cost. Taylor said it didn’t since they still didn’t know where they wanted it to be.
Council President Dave Meitzler said that the town is working with Baker-Tilly on a capital improvement plan and that they would include the quote on that plan.
“With this information and the amount, that’s a good start for the company to take into consideration what the plans for the future of Roanoke are,” Meitzler said.
Taylor also asked that the town look into potential grants to fund the project.
During department reports, Superintendent of Operations Aaron Popplewell reported that the in-lining project was completed and the total was around $5,000 under the original bid.
Next, Popplewell shared that DLZ did a soil study on 214 Second St., which is the old AEP lot that the town wanted to purchase. The study found arsenic in the soil and arsenic and lead in the ground water.
“The site is still usable,” Popplewell said. “If we have to dig any dirt out, we just have to take it to a special landfill.”
The council approved going through with the purchase of the property in the amount of $14,000. The monies for the purchase will come from County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds.
In other business:
• Andy Amick, of Roanoke Tractor Pullers, asked if the town would be interested in purchasing or trading a section of land with the homeowners at 314 Vine St. Members of the Roanoke Tractor Pullers were going to plant new trees for the homeowners, but they wondered if the town would want a strip to possibly put a sidewalk in to the park. The council expressed their interest and said they would get back with Amick on the matter.