homepage logo

Let public comment on fire hall location

By Staff | May 26, 2009

The Rugby Park District is in an awkward position regarding whether to deed a portion of Southside Park to the city of Rugby so a fire hall can be constructed in there in the future.

If the park board votes no to deeding the land, it means back to the drawing board, so to speak, for the Rugby Volunteer Fire Department in searching for a suitable fire hall location to replace the existing one downtown and possibly put the project off yet another year.

If the board votes yes, it surely will get negative feedback from some nearby property owners and those who frequent the park who are concerned about safety or the park’s future.

The views of park board members are mixed – and interestingly, three of the five park board members are tied closely to the issue.

Mark Voeller currently serves on the fire department. George Dendinger is a retired Rugby firefighter. And Rick Larson resides just west of the park.

In light of this, and since this is a key community issue involving the placement of a fire hall and potential changes to the layout of a park, it would be appropriate for the park board and fire department to hold a public information meeting.

Terry Wentz, park board member, is right to say this issue isn’t whether a new fire hall is needed. It’s a question of whether putting one adjoining park property would adversely affect the park.

Fire department members say they are fine with a no vote, provided there is a clear indication the public is strongly against setting aside park land for a hall.

A recent Tribune poll question asked readers if the park district should deed part of Southside Park to the city so a fire hall could be constructed there.

As of last week, 67 responded, and 58 percent voted “no’; 36 percent voted “yes” and six percent were not sure.

It’s an unscientific poll, but it’s food for thought for the park and fire department officials.

A public meeting, however, would give more perspective on what members of the community think.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page