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Milan Township may get its first fire station

Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 10:01 am

Construction of a new fire station is being considered for a parcel of roughly 2 acres currently growing field corn near the southeast corner of Woodburn and Webster Roads in Milan Township. A public meeting to discuss the proposed fire station is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the township trustee’s office, 18208 Doty Road.

“The purpose of this meeting is an opportunity to tell the public about the project and to hear comments from the public about the project,” said developer Greg Martz of GM Development in New Castle.

“It’s a critical meeting coming up,” said Rob Young, senior director of business development for Hagerman Group. Plans for the nearly 8,000-square-foot proposed firehouse were drawn up by Hagerman Group, 510 W Washington Blvd.

Land is available for purchase directly across from the new Woodlan K-12 campus. It is within a half-mile of the BF­Goodrich tire plant and close to the new U.S. 24 with its increased traffic, Milan Township Trustee Chad MacDowell said in an email. Additionally, it has water and sewer already there, he said later in a telephone interview.

Martz learned about the proposed fire station through his work on several other projects with Hagerman Group.

“They actually knew about the project just from being a local contractor. Fire stations are pretty much my specialty,” Martz said.

Martz likes working with smaller communities because “I find they need my help the most,”he said.

While Martz is recognized as the developer on the project, he is now using his skills to procure financing for the fire station.

“Really what I am doing is helping them with their financing. The financing can be very tricky. We were able to secure tax-exempt financing through iAB, a local bank,” Martz said.

Fire stations qualify for tax-exempt financing and a lower rate because they are a public entity, he said.

Filling a need for increased emergency assistance, the proposed fire station is expected to serve all of Milan Township’s 4,000-plus residents and more than 1,500 homes, farms and small businesses. Additionally, it would serve the new K-12 school campus on Woodburn Road and give assistance to neighboring townships when there is a need, MacDowell said.

“It will be a volunteer fire station. However, most likely, there will be two full-time EMS technicians,” he said.

Currently, fire protection and EMS services are contracted out to neighboring townships.

“We have had to contract with the following area townships for all fire protection and EMS services: New Haven/Adams Township Fire & EMS, Cedar Creek Township and Springfield Township which are now combined into N.E. Allen County Fire and EMS, St. Joe Township and Maumee Township,” MacDowell said.

While MacDowell would not say what Milan Township pays for contracted services, he said it is similar to the annual $127,000 payment amount proposed for each year of the 15-year lease.

“It costs a lot to run a township,” he said.

A fire station located in Milan Township is expected to impact the community in several ways.

“We are leasing the whole package. The fire station, the construction (of the station) and the land. In 15 years we will own it,” MacDowell said.

“Essentially, what we will be doing is contracting with ourselves. We’ve never had a fire station in this township before,” he said.

Groundbreaking is tentatively set for fall with completion next spring, Martz said.

A fire station in the community would drastically reduce response times and could lower insurance rates for homeowners and businesses in the community, he said.

Equipment for the new fire station includes an ambulance, a fire truck and the related equipment to adequately run fire and EMS services, MacDowell said.