|Delavan showing off new fire station Saturday|
|Written by Todd Mishler/Walworth County Sunday|
|Tuesday, 29 November 2011 16:24|
The new Delavan fire station on Ann Street is the first building constructed exclusively for the department in its 135-year history. An open house is set for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3. Terry Mayer/staff photo.
(Read the full story in the e-edition HERE.)
DELAVAN — Nobody should wonder why Chief Neill Flood and the other 36 volunteers who make up the Delavan Fire Department are smiling so much these days.
But it’ll be obvious to those who attend dedication ceremonies and an open house at the city’s new fire station Dec. 3.
“Everything was designed strictly for a fire station, unlike all of our other locations,” said Flood, who joined the department as a recruit in 1957 and became chief in 1983. “The administrative area is absolutely fantastic and the training room is great. Everything is new and features updated technology. It’s just all far superior to where we were before.
“The department was established in 1876, and it’s always been part of some other building and was even in an old horse barn at one time. This is actually the first time the city’s fire station has had its own home.”
And the community can celebrate that fact starting at 12:30 p.m., when department personnel will process from the old fire station on Seventh Street to the new location at 811 Ann St. Delavan Mayor Mel Niewenhuis will speak — and Gov. Scott Walker has been invited — during ceremonies that will include a ribbon cutting and dedication.
The open house will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a project that broke ground April 9 and was completed in October.
The 16,000-square-foot, single-story structure cost $2.31 million. It includes offices for the chief, assistant chief, dispatcher and inspector, a conference room and a training space. The building has been designed so the training room can be used for evening community activities. The building features a brick facade and glass bay doors, radiant in-floor heat and epoxy flooring.
That’s a long way from 1983, when the fire department moved into its most recent home of the former Fagan Ford dealership. That move, meant to be temporary, was required because the downtown location behind the Delavan House Hotel was torn down to make room for an office building and no other viable options existed.
“We were told back in ’83 that it would be a temporary situation, maybe four or five years, until the city had the financing to afford a new building,” Flood said. “So yes, it’s been a long time in coming.”
Delavan City Councilman Ryan Schroeder, a member of the police and fire commission, said he and many others understand the frustrations that fire department members have endured.
However, he said the city can be proud of the new fire station, and residents should be excited about what it could represent for the future.
“I took a quick tour recently and came away very, very impressed,” Schroeder said. “It’s quite a difference between the old and new stations, and I know the firefighters themselves appreciate it a lot because it’s a state-of-the-art facility.
“Not only is it good for the fire department and helps improve safety, but it helps that neighborhood and the city of Delavan as a whole,” Schroeder added. “We’re hoping that we see other growth and economic development opportunities in that area, which would create jobs and add to the tax base.”