Orange City, Iowa — Orange City voters are going to the polls today (March 1) to decide the fate of a $2.7 million bond issue to help finance a $3.5 million expansion of the city’s fire station. The polling place is Living Water Community Church in Orange City, and the poll closes at 8 PM. Fire officials say the expansion is needed due to safety and overcrowding issues.
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. 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.
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.
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.