When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in February, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was awarded $510 million in grant funds for three safety departments. The Port Security and the Transit Security were given $150 million in grants, respectively, and a $210 million was awarded to the Assistant to Firefighters Grants.
One program in the Assistant to Firefighters Grants is the Fire Station Construction Grant (FSCG).
Under the grant, qualifying fire departments would be provided with financial assistance to modify or build new fire stations in order for the department to enhance their response capability and better protect the community in which they serve.
Thousands of fire departments across the nation sent in their application for financial assistance, including the Pleasant Township Fire Department.
Fire chief Jay Noojin stated the department has requested around $2 million in federal stimulus funds.
"I would say we have about a 2 percent chance of getting the money," he said after the July 28 Pleasant Township Board of Trustees meeting. Noojin explained that the reason the percentage of getting the federal stimulus dollars is so low is because the area they cover is not large enough.
"We’re sort of stuck in the middle," he said.
In recent years, the township has experienced a slight increase in population, and projections say the area will continue to expand. With the expansion comes the need for more safety, which is why the board has flirted with the idea of building another fire station in Pleasant Township.
"We definitely need another one," said Chairman Keith Goldhardt. "There should be one in the Harrisburg or Georgesville area, or around Stahl Road and 665."
Noojin said if the department is not a recipient of the grant, a new station is not likely to be constructed in the immediate future.
"We just don’t have the money to do that. I would love it, but we need to pass a fire levy to keep things status quo," he said, referring to the 1.57-mill replacement levy and the 1.0-mill replacement levy (2.57-mills combined) that the board voted on to start the process of putting the measure on the Nov. 3 ballot at their July 14 meeting.