Orange City, Iowa — According to the Fire Chief, the Orange City Fire Station is in need of updating.
The Orange City Fire Department is seeking a $3.5 million expansion of its current fire station. They hope that part of that total can come from a $2.7 million bond issue. The public vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1st from 7 AM to 8 PM.
Planning for the expansion started in December, 2014, according to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel. He says the city council decided that the idea should be looked into, and an architect was hired. He says seven drawings have been considered. At one point the building was to include law enforcement as well, but that was eventually decided against.
He says the city happens to own the land next to the fire station, so they’ll be staying in the same place.
Vander Wel says the current fire station, built in 1973, lacks adequate training and work space and has limited storage.
He says there wasn’t really enough room for a recent meeting.
Vander Wel says the station no longer meets national health and safety codes, has a lack of ventilation, and firefighters risk injury by pulling their gear on next to moving trucks.
The chief also says there is an increased need to clean and sanitize equipment, gear, and firefighters, as they get into much more than just wood smoke.
He says that an increase in population growth, new hazards and technological advances also contribute to the need for an expanded station.
He says they don’t just respond to fire calls, but also to car accidents, search and rescue missions, gas leaks and storm watch calls.
If the ballot measure passes, the Orange City Fire Station will be expanded by 11,700 square feet, and 3,200 square feet of the current station will be remodeled. The station is to include a gear room, showers, ADA-compliant restrooms and a chief’s office.
Vander Wel says that for a $100,000 home, taxes would go up $47 per year — however, due to other projects and equipment rolling off the City’s tax burden, if the bond issue passes, property owners should not see an increase for the fire station.
The public is invited to visit the Orange City Fire Station, located at 202 Albany Avenue SE, during open houses on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. and Monday, Feb. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. There’s also a Pizza Ranch Tip Night coming up on Wednesday, February 24th.
More information on the proposed expansion can be found on the Friends of the Orange City Fire Department’s website, www. friendsoftheocfd.com, or Facebook page.