Squad raising funds for new garage

November 17, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Members of the Waynesboro Ambulance Squad are trying to raise $2 million to convert a vacant former automobile dealership at 603 W. Main St. into a new ambulance garage.

Brent Frain, squad chief, and Arley Scott, squad president, are leading the effort.

The squad bought the former Snowberger Oldsmobile-GMC dealership's land and building at auction two years ago for $145,000, Frain said.

"We've been planning to do this for six years and we've been putting money away," he said.

The squad is applying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a $1.5 million, low-interest loan for the project. Frain said construction will start soon after the squad learns if the loan is approved, possibly in March or April.

"We'll kick off our local fund-raiser after we get the loan," he said. "We are going to have to rely heavily on the community."


The squad owns the two buildings housing its three ambulances and quick-response units, and its administrative offices at 48 S. Potomac St. Both buildings will be sold when the squad moves into the new quarters on West Main Street, Scott said.

Safety is the primary reason for moving the squad, he said. Traffic on South Potomac Street is heavy at times, making it difficult to get ambulances in and out of the facility.

"Sometimes we tie up traffic in both directions," he said.

Frain said the new structure will bring all functions into a single building.

The new 17,000-square-foot building will have four bays. Each will be two vehicles deep to provide parking space for eight ambulances at one time, Scott said.

It will have a community room with a capacity of 280 that also will serve as an emergency shelter if necessary, Frain said.

The community room will be available for rent.

The building will have administrative offices, a lounge, bunk rooms, a kitchen, utility and storage rooms, and a watch room with a computerized weather station.

The squad runs about 1,800 ambulance calls a year. It runs mostly with volunteers, but part-time paid personnel sometimes is needed to augment the volunteer staff.

Frain said the squad is in the middle of its annual club membership drive. Residents are asked to join the club at a cost of $35 per family.

In the event an ambulance is needed for a family member, the squad accepts the 80 percent the member's insurance company pays for the transport service and does not send a bill for the balance, Frain said.

"The club takes care of the other 20 percent," he said.

The squad also is running its local fund-raising campaign through letters seeking donations from individuals and businesses.

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