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Site of future fire hall still unsettled

By Staff | Oct 15, 2009

The Rugby Volunteer Fire Department conducted another successful gun raffle recently, raising nearly $8,000 toward the construction of a new fire hall.

And while the local support keeps coming in, it’s still unknown just when the department will be in a financial position to one day build a hall. And just where it would go.

The department is no closer to determining a location than it was over a year ago, says Gary Kraft, fire chief. “We’re still in a state of limbo on that,’ he said.

After taking a hiatus over the summer months, the department’s fire hall committee will soon begin meeting regularly, and the location will be a topic of discussion.

The two most talked about sites remain a city-owned vacant lot across from M.J. McGuire’s dealership, The other was further south on N.D. Highway 3, a portion of South Side Park on park district land. Both sites have issues.

Soil tests on the city land across from the dealership revealed the ground is unstable to build in its present state of condition. Replacing a large section of the soil at a substantial cost would be required. Using the south portion of the park has been opposed by a number of adjacent property owners and others in the community who use the park.

The department has approached the park board and city council regarding the two sites, but the viewpoints from members on both of those boards are mixed. It was suggested by some councilmen to contact an architectural firm to looked into suitable alternative locations. To date, no such firm has been contracted to do that.

Kraft admits his fellow firefighters have been frustrated about the hold up in finding a future site, but they remain determined to press on with the planned project.

In late spring, the department applied for a federal grant toward the hall, tapping into available stimulus funds, however, it’s doubtful the department will get funds, Kraft has been told.

The department has been able to set aside several thousand toward the project through fundraisers such as the one recently held. Kraft said the support of local people has been excellent toward this project. Many see the need for a new hall to provide better space to store trucks and equipment and be in a location out of the downtown traffic and near schools.

Undoubtedly, though, a large donor, or grant, or other funding sources, perhaps earmarked sales tax funds, will be necessary to pay for the project

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