Wales awarded $600K for new station on strength of ‘exemplary’ fire crew
By Teri Forbes
WALES—Wales has the green light to move forward with a much-needed new fire station after hearing the town will receive more than $600,000 in funding—thanks in part to an exemplary fire department.
At a recent town council meeting, leaders discussed the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB) approval of a $500,000 grant and a 20-year loan of $104,000 at 2.5 percent interest.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 2, Mayor Keith Jensen informed the council and others present that the town’s full $604,000 request had been approved.
The CIB had reviewed and accepted the application on Nov. 14, 2018, and then finalized it the following month.
Plans to make the project happen have been in the works for a while now.
Last October, Jensen told the town Planning and Zoning Committee about the proposed building and let the committee known he hoped the town could break ground in the spring. He informed committee members that the town was in the process of pursuing a CIB grant/loan and had a good chance to receive it.
The new building is planned as an 80-foot by 85-foot (6,800-square-foot) steel structure with three drive-through bays and a concrete floor.
The location will be the half-acre lot immediately north of the existing fire station. (The current station is at 150 N. State St.) There are plans for storage space over the office and possibly some rock work on the front of the building facing 200 North.
Jensen said there would most likely be fencing around the lot, since there was already chain-link fence on the west and east sides of the lot.
Once the new station is constructed, the old one will be used to store a backhoe, dump truck and snow plow.
Jensen commented that the CIB had been very impressed with a public hearing that was held Oct. 16 in connection with pursuit of the funding. The number of people in attendance at the hearing, as well as the number of firefighters who have their “red cards” (certification to fight wildfires) worked in the town’s favor.
According to a statement on the CIB project summary report, “The applicant [Wales Town] indicated their fire department is one of the best in the county. They have responded to five major wildland fires this year. The town population is 302, and they have 22 active members in the department. The current structure is inadequate; there are six vehicles crowded into the small structure built in the 1980s.”
Mayor Jensen said in a previous meeting that he planned to pay off the loan early. He said the money the fire department brought in last summer fighting wildland fires would almost cut the loan in half.
Jensen did not respond to a request for an interview.