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Stimulus money sought for fire substation

July 20, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. -- The Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Squad has applied for almost $1.3 million in stimulus money to build a substation in Rouzerville, Pa.

Now the department is soliciting the community for land that could be used if the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant is awarded.

"We really need the township support and community support to make it happen," said James Devlin, a department member who prepared the application and submitted it earlier this month.

Devlin said he evaluated calls from 2008 and determined that 250 calls would've been better served with a station in Rouzerville.

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"Roughly 50 percent of our fire calls were deemed to be closer to a Rouzerville station," he said.

Commercial development along Pa. 16 and Washington Township Boulevard in Rouzerville have driven up property values. However, Devlin said now might be the time to obtain a property, rather than in 10 years when all the land is taken.

The single biggest issue attached to the project is obtaining the land, then demonstrating to FEMA that the land is available, Devlin said. New capabilities in Rouzerville would help the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department with assistance on their calls, he said.

"It's not entirely about the future," he said. "We think it'd have an immediate impact in the area we serve now."

Also, 75 percent of the department's volunteers live in the Rouzerville area and could save time by not driving up the mountain for fire engines and ambulances.

Devlin said one each of the department's two firetrucks and two ambulances would be relocated to Rouzerville.

The department's membership voted on the grant submission and the caveat that the department would commit $75,000 toward the construction.

"The grant doesn't pay for the land, inside furnishings for the building and any landscaping," Devlin said.

Costs included in the application came from a facilities master plan done for the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors several years ago. Those plans devoted more space for firetrucks and ambulances than what was proposed in the new grant application.

Patrick E. Fleagle, administrator for the fire and rescue squad, said the substation would probably not be possible without the grant.

"All of those stimulus things are to happen really quick," Fleagle said.

"We just felt like why not try?" Devlin said.

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