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Township to build new fire hall

Besse Foundation gives entity $150,000

October 23, 2012
By Ilsa Matthes - staff writer ( , Daily Press

GLADSTONE - Escanaba Township is planning to build a new fire hall and township voting precinct on two acres of land the Gladstone City Commission deeded to it during the commission's regular meeting Monday night.

The two acres are a portion of the northeastern part of Fernwood Cemetery by the Westridge Heights Subdivision. The township is building the new fire hall using $150,000 that was given to the township by the Besse Foundation.

"This property is currently in Escanaba Township, however in 1916 the city was deeded this property," said Darla Falcon, city manager.

The new fire hall will be designated as "Escanaba Township Fire Station No. 2," but will provide services to Escanaba Township and portions of Gladstone.

After the fire hall is built, the city will have access to a $300,000, Class A 3,000 gallon pumper fire truck with a foam system. The city also plans to share training and other resources with the township.

"We already have a mutual aid agreement for the county, but we're going to do a modified mutual aid agreement for us and the city," said Dave Vanderlinden, Escanaba Township firefighter.

Besides the benefits of shared training and equipment, the city will be gaining a water and electric customer by allowing the fire hall to be built in the Fernwood Cemetery location. Currently, only 20 acres of the 40 acre cemetery parcel is in use.

"I think this is definitely what Lansing would like to see local units of government do. It provides mutual benefit to both parties. I think it's a really exciting project if you think of it that way," said Commissioner Joe Maki, who noted that the state government has been pushing for shared services.

The city will provide a survey of the location. The township will be required to allow the city planning commission to review the project plans and have a building in place in 18 months.

"The money that we're receiving is coming from the Patt and John Besse Foundation. We've already received $90,000 towards this building and we're going to be receiving another $60,000 after the first of the year and he has agreed to add even more to it," said Escanaba Township Treasurer Linda Trombley.

The fire hall will benefit residents of both the city and the township by reducing their Insurance Service Office rating. The ISO Rating measures risk and affects property insurance rates.

"This is an easy decision to make, because the township wins and the city wins and the people win. I wish all our decisions were this easy," said Commissioner Hugo Mattonen.

The building will also be used by the township as a voting precinct. Escanaba township residents who currently vote at Cameron School will vote at the new fire hall in the future.



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