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Join us to discuss the future of the fire hall

August 13, 2010
Gary Kraft

Many of you have been following our Fire Hall project, or lack thereof, for a number of years now.

The department has simply outgrown our present Fire Hall. We have seven of our units basically stuffed into a three stall garage and those vehicles exit directly onto a downtown sidewalk. Parking problems at the downtown location have been getting worse every year. Our training requirements and responsibilities have increased tremendously since I joined the department 20 years ago, and we have virtually no training space inside the hall and are force to close down 3rd Street S.E. to train outside when weather permits.

When our present fire hall was built around 1960, a large majority of the firemen worked right downtown, and many of them just ran from work to the hall. I remember as a kid watching them run down the sidewalks, streets and alleys responding to a call. At the time, this probably was the best place in town for a hall.

When the time comes that the city will support building a new hall, we as a department, want that hall to be in what we feel is the best possible location to serve the community for the next 50 years. We have considered locations all over town, and determined that the ideal location would be somewhere along N.D. Highway 3, between the underpass, and the intersection with U.S. Highway 2. With all things considered, the south half of the South Side Park is the best possible location for a new hall.

Most of our firemen have children and we are taxpayers. We wouldn't be pursuing the South Side location if we thought it would be detrimental to the kids or the public. Our preliminary plans include such additions to the park as picnic shelters added to the north side of the proposed building. In addition, a north garage door on the park side is proposed which would open a portion of the building to the public for events such as the Lions Club's Music in the Park program in case of rainy weather. At the same time, as taxpayers, this land is already owned by the public and would not require any major investment to prepare the land for building.

We have raised thousands of dollars toward the hall project and have had many opportunities for grant money, but to obtain grant money we need to have a location and a plan. Without a location, we can't have plan.

In an effort to get public input, we are planning a picnic in the South Side Park on Thursday, Sept. 9. We hope to be able to show everyone what we would like to do, how it might enhance the park, and why we feel it is a great location. Whether you support this location or not, please plan to attend and form your own opinion about this location.

The fire department, the Rugby City Council and the Rugby Park Board will all be seeking your input in the months to come. Do not hesitate to contact me or any other firemen with any questions and concerns. We are ready to listen, but it will also give us the opportunity to provide you with our point of view as well.

Thanks, and we're looking forward to hearing from you.

Kraft is a Rugby resident and member of the Rugby Volunteer Fire Departmant.

 
 

 

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