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Plans move ahead for new Sharpsburg fire station

March 27, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Although talks about merging the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. and the town's ambulance company have stalled, firefighters are moving ahead with plans to build a $500,000 station that would include two ambulance bays.

The fire company hopes that a merger eventually will come about and the plan is to have enough room in a new station to accommodate Sharpsburg Area Medical Emergency Services, Fire Chief Jeremy Gay said.

Sharpsburg Emergency Services Assistant Chief Tim Gargana said there are no hard feelings between the companies.

"It's a goodwill gesture on their part and leaves the door open to future talks," Gargana said.

Merger talks fell through in July 2001 because the fire company wanted the two companies to merge into one entity, while the ambulance company preferred sharing a building but maintaining its autonomy. The ambulance company also feared it would lose funding as the result of a merger, Gargana said.

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No timeline has been set for the building project, Gay said.

The fire company has outgrown its aging station and needs more room for its fleet, a meeting room, offices, recreation room, kitchen, living quarters and exercise equipment, he said.

The fire company is currently enlarging a cramped office for officers to use until money can be raised for the building project.

Gay said the company is looking for grants with which to fund the project and for volunteer grant writers.

If the fire company gets the needed money, the existing station will be torn down and a new one built on the site.

If insufficient funds are raised, the project either will be put on hold or scaled back to involve adding on to the existing station, he said.

Gay said he doesn't want to ask residents to pay for the building.

"They contribute enough," he said.

County officials have been helpful in getting the project started and the town has offered to pay for a grant writer, Gay said.

The fire company's station at 110 W. Chapline St. was built in the 1940s and the ambulance company's building at 110 1/2 W. Chapline St., is about 10 years old.

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