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Possible expansion of the Orchard Fire Hall was one of the many heated topics the village board saw Monday evening.
Representing the Orchard Fire Department, Josh Stelling and Pat Bergman discussed the options the village board should consider while looking into the expansion.
“We are just here to talk about the expansion of the truck room out there. Whether it be ideas or yours or ideas of ours. I know we’ve visited this whenever I brought the plans 10 months ago. I don’t know if there has been any discussion,” said Stelling. “Has anybody thought what you’d like to do? If you want to do anything? Bottom line, we need room. We just do. I hate to ask too much, but if you want an ambulance, a fire service, protection. I don’t feel like we are out of line for asking.”
Much of the discussion revolved around where the potential expansion could be. Speaking for the village board, John Ferguson stressed that “doing it right the first time” is very important in the process.
“I don’t think it’s big enough. I’d think you’d go all the expense of taking this out and doing this here and still not have enough room,” Ferguson said. “I believe you have to do it right the first time. You can look at my operation, and I never did it right the first time. If I would have had the money to do it right the first time. You’re just going pacify for a short time.”
Both Bergman and Stelling said expanding into the community room would be the best option. The stated that costs would be far less that adding on. One of the department’s main concerns was the expense of adding a sprinkler system. Although he was unsure on the exact requirements, Bergman stated that once a public facility is 40 x 40, an upper sprinkler system is required, which he believes is not entirely necessary.
Expressing the same concern, Ferguson said that they could try and keep it close to the limit so they wouldn’t have this issue.
Stelling said, “But, if building on is the thought, we are going spend on this money in to just stay enough under the sprinkler. Then is that doing it right the first time? I mean, I don’t believe it is.”
After much back and forth discussion, audience member Stephanie Cleveland chimed in attempt to mediate.
“I’m impartial here because I’m not on your side, I’m not on their side. I’m whatever. If you get a number, and she talks to the grant writer. If there’s a grant that covers most of this, then you guys will know that you need to raise $60,000. Maybe it’s not $200,000,” said Cleveland. “And now everybody goes, ‘OK, can we not just get the fire department and the village, but all of these people who have been in the rescue unit in the last four years?’ Maybe they could come down and help us to because they just saved their lives, they just saved their farm, they
just saved their house. Maybe they’ll come help too.”
Taking a step back, the board as well as the fire department representatives decided to gather information to decide the best option for the expansion.