A Delaware County fire district will officially break ground on a long-awaited project next week.
The Elm Valley Joint Fire District begins construction of its new fire station Tuesday after years of planning for the project.
“It’s been really a team effort to get it done,” said Bob Davis, chairman of the fire district’s board. “We’re very excited to get started on this.”
The process of building a new fire station began about six years ago when the land was purchased just outside the northern edge of the Village of Ashley on the west side of U.S. 42 as the future site.
However, the project slowed along with the economy.
“We kind of held back when economy crashed,” Davis said. “It’s been a longer process than we wished.”
While officials waited for the economy to improve, they also sought out funding for the project. They eventually secured a $1.7 million loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development branch.
Davis said the loan through the federal government will save the fire district money over time because the interest rate is fixed for 30 years, something banks were unwilling to offer.
The loan will be repaid through revenue generated by a 30-year, 0.97-mill bond issue voters approved in 2012. The bond raises $94,3000 annually and costs homeowners $30 per every $100,000 in valuation.
The fire district’s existing station, located in downtown Ashley, was built in the 1950 and has proven to be too small for a modern fire department.
“We couldn’t get all the equipment we had in,” Davis said. “We thought it was the time to do something.”
The new station, at 12,000 square feet, will provide plenty of room for the fire district to accommodate all of its equipment. In fact, there will be room for the department to grow, if necessary.
“We’re building this with the idea to take care for the next 50 years,” Davis said.
The station will have a meeting room and also a shelter area for emergencies.
Davis expects the project to be complete by early 2015.