Trustees thank voters with open house

Two years ago, voters in Range Township and the Village of Midway approved a levy to build a new fire house. On Jan. 10, the township trustees will hold an open house to say “thanks.”

“We’ve been talking about doing this since the fire station opened up in February,” said Luana Barker, Range Township’s fiscal officer. “Things kept coming up but we decided we needed to make time to show the community we appreciate the fact that they passed the bond levy.”

The open house will take place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. The trustees will serve up hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad. The firemen will deliver flyers door-to-door this week with details about the open house.

The new station features five truck bays, a large community meeting room, a kitchen with utility space, rest rooms and an office. An unfinished upper level can accommodate housing for a full-time fire department in the future.

“We love it. It is so fantastic,” said Fire Chief Don Gildow. “We have room to work on our trucks. We don’t have to shuffle them around when the community room is in use.”

The department made 62 runs this year, most in response to car accidents. The department’s 14 to 17 volunteers are responsible for providing fire protection to 1,200 residents in a 47.8 square-mile area that includes eight miles of I-71.

The station’s community room is booked nearly every weekend and even some weeknights, Barker said. The public now has a bigger space to reserve for anything from graduation parties and baby and bridal showers to 4-H meetings and church dinners. The firemen also enjoy the larger space for their pancake and sausage dinners, she said.

The cost of the new fire station was $435,000. Voters passed a 1.4-mill bond levy for 28 years to cover the cost.

Gildow said he is in the process of writing grants for new equipment to further enhance the department. Turnout gear and new air bottles for self-contained breathing apparatus are on the list.

Range Township’s trustees are Mark Anthony, Ron Cress and Dennis Marshall.

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