NEW SPRINGFIELD Officials open doors to renovated firehouse

Mahoning County kicked in $50,000 for the project.
NEW SPRINGFIELD -- Springfield Township now has two emergency buildings in one.
Upstairs, it's a refurbished home for the township's volunteer fire department. Downstairs, it's a shelter for the community to take cover in during storms and other emergencies.
Township officials unveiled the facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon. Just after the ceremony started, firefighters were called out to a grass fire, but they were back before the ceremony ended.
Township and Mahoning County officials snipped black and orange streamers to mark the opening.
Funding: The $300,000 project was partially funded with a $50,000 grant from Mahoning County commissioners, through the county's community development program. The program is funded from a 0.5 percent county sales tax.
"You said you wanted to see results of the sales tax in your own back yard, and we listened," said Commissioner Ed Reese. "This is a good example of what can happen when we all work together."
Call for action: The fire station, which sits along Woodworth Road in the center of New Springfield, was built in 1949, said township Trustee Reed Metzka.
It had fallen into a state of disrepair and residents were after trustees to do something about it.
There was talk of abandoning the station and building a new one outside the village limits, said Capt. Dale Miller. Instead, officials opted to shore up, expand and renovate the building.
That required excavating under the building to improve the foundation.
"We figured since we had to do that anyway, we might as well put a new room underneath," Miller said.
What they have is a bare-bones room with concrete block walls and room for about 125 people to take shelter during storms or other emergencies. There are also restrooms and water, Miller said.
Generator: The entire new wing also has its own generator so if the power goes out, there will still be electricity for the fire station and storm shelter.
"The whole thing is autonomous," he said. "It's a good project."
There is also room to store two firetrucks in the storm shelter, if necessary, he said.
The improved fire station has room for three trucks, the same as before, Miller said. The difference is that now there is also room to store equipment and work on the trucks without having to pull them outside.
"We've got more than enough room to do what we need to do now," he said.

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