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Franklin seeks new fire hall

October 26, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

RIPLEY - The fire halls for the Boston and Quincy-Franklin Townships fire departments are old and in need of repair, so the boards of trustees of Franklin and Quincy townships would like to replace them with a single new fire hall.

On the Nov. 6 ballot, voters in Franklin Township will be asked to approve a proposal to borrow no more than $700,000 for the construction of a proposed new fire hall on Sunshine Road in Coburntown near U.S. 41. The building would be about 50 feet by 80 feet.

Glenn Ekdahl, Franklin Township supervisor, said in June, the Franklin Township Board of Trustees approved the creation of special assessment district for the purposes of funding a new fire hall for the township.

The special assessment district includes Precincts 1 and 4 in Franklin Township. Precinct 2, which is Ripley, would not be in the special assessment district because it has its own fire department.

On Aug. 13, Ekdahl said the Quincy Township Board of Trustees approved being part of the special assessment district, but they won't vote on the request to get a loan to build the new fire hall. If approved, they will get fire protection and the use of the hall for community purposes.

Ekdahl said the ballot request to borrow from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for the fire hall states "not to exceed $700,000" for 40 years, but he thinks, if approved, the fire hall can be constructed for about $600,000 and the loan repaid in 30 years if 1.378 mills were assessed to pay back the loan.

If the fire hall was built, Ekdahl said it would belong to Franklin Township.

"Franklin Township is pursuing the bonds," he said.

The new fire hall is needed, Ekdahl said because the current Boston and Quincy-Franklin buildings are in poor shape and can't adequately handle the fire trucks.

Ekdahl said the roof on the Boston building was constructed as a community center in the late 1960s and was converted to a fire hall. It has many leaks in the roof, which have caused a serious mold problem in the interior. The estimated cost to make repairs is $110,000 to $140,000.

"The roof is completely shot," he said.

Because the Quincy-Franklin fire hall is so close to U.S. 41, Ekdahl said there have been several instances of close calls with oncoming traffic when the fire truck was backing into the building. The estimated cost to make that late 1940s or early 1950s-constructed building adequate for the current larger fire trucks is more than $300,000.

There is also a federal law consideration with the buildings, which will create further costs, Ekdahl said.

"The fire halls are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act," he said.

If the ballot request to borrow for the construction of a new fire hall is approved, Ekdahl said the current buildings could be sold and the money used to bring down the debt on the loan for the new building.

Also on the Nov. 6 ballot are several Franklin Township millage renewal requests, Ekdahl said, which would be in effect until 2015, including: 1.25 mills for the fire department fund in Precinct 1; 1.25 mills for Precinct 2, Ripley, fire department fund; 2 mills for the Precinct 2 water department fund; 1.25 mills for the Precinct 4, Boston, fire department fund; Precincts 1, 2 and 4, .25 mills for fire apparatus; 2 mills for public roads improvement.



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