| 2 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, firstname.lastname@example.org |
A decision that was years in the making, Webster Township has decided to move forward on a new fire station.
By a unanimous decision at its Oct. 29 special meeting, the Webster Township Board approved to devote up to $2.8 million for the construction of a two full double bay emergency services building with living quarters that meets all codes of the state of Michigan.
The station will be located next to the township hall on Webster Church Road.
Township supervisor John Kingsley said the township has been considering this decision for 20 or so years.
Over the past year, the township board took the steps to finally make it happen while exploring the idea of building a new station that would be manned 24 hours a day, which it doesn’t currently have and relies on the other stations in the Dexter Area Fire Department for 24-hour response.
Kingsley said one of the motivations behind the decision is to address emergency response times, especially in the northern areas of the township. These areas are the furthest points away from the current DAFD manned-stations in the city of Dexter and Dexter Township, who are part of the fire authority with Webster.
The township board discussed how much money to devote to it and the conclusion was that it expects to complete the project at the amount approved. The bulk of the money will come from the township’s capital improvement fund balance, which the township has been putting money into each year in preparation for the potential decision to build a station. This fund stands at around $2.2 million.
The remainder of the cost will come from the general fund balance.
Township board trustee John Westman made the motion to approve the project and said the township has been dragging its feet on this and it’s time. He said there are a lot of people who put a lot of time and effort into this over the years, so he thanked them, from previous board members to the former and current fire chiefs, and other township officials.
One he thanked was current board member Richard Kleinschmidt, who is a long-serving board member. Kleinschmidt said the decision is probably overdue, but it’s needed now.
New board member Dan Munzel agreed with the need and said by moving forward with this the township is doing a huge service to its residents.
After the meeting, DAFD Fire Chief Robert Smith said, “This is a great decision by the Board. It will benefit the community and the Dexter Area Fire Department equally.”
When asked how it will help Webster Township residents, Smith said, “Currently there isn’t a fire station in the township. All responses come from the City of Dexter Station and/or the Dexter Township Station. Once the station is built and staffed Webster Township will see greatly improve response times to all types of incident.”
The township’s resolution approving the project states, “it has been determined that the best method of shortening response times within the township is to have a manned fire station.”
The response times to some areas in the township are up to 12 minutes.
The township expects to break ground on the new building in the coming month.