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City holds groundbreaking ceremony for new fire station

GTNS photo by David Hotle

Members of the Washington Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Club met with city officials to break ground on the project that is constructing a new fire station next to themunicipal building.
GTNS photo by David Hotle Members of the Washington Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Club met with city officials to break ground on the project that is constructing a new fire station next to themunicipal building.

In the coming months, Washington residents will see the new fire station being constructed next to Washington City hall take shape as construction is scheduled to begin next week.

With the turn on four shovels Wednesday afternoon, the project was said to be officially underway. The Washington Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Club had held a groundbreaking ceremony to honor the construction of the new building. Mayor Jaron Rosien, City Administration Brent Hinson, city council member and Washington firefighter Brendan DeLong and Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide all sank their shovels into the exposed dirt at the site to symbolize the true start of the project.

“We have the site all ready to go and the contractor for the building, we are expecting on-site probably Monday,” Hinson said. “Then we will expect to see a lot of progress after that.”

Hinson stated crews would begin by pouring the foundations, but it wouldn’t be too long before residents begin to see the building going up. Main work on the $2.5 million building project is expected to be done by July 31, 2019. Once the new fire station is built, the city will remodel the old fire station to give the police department and city much-needed space.

Mayor Jaron Rosien made a few quick comments as the ceremony began, calling the beginning of construction an “exciting moment,” and thanking the support of the people of Washington, building committee, the city council and the fire department. He also recognized the funding sources as the Washington County Riverboat Foundation, the Washington general fund, and Local-option sales taxes. The project is being done with existing money so no tax increase is required, nor is a bond referendum.

“I’m thankful to everyone who was here to commemorate breaking ground on this important project and addition to the City of Washington,” Rosien said.

Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide commented the project had been a long time coming. He said the new station had beenin the works for about 10 years.

“There is a lot of work that had been done before this point and it is exciting to get the actual structure and building going,’ he said,

A spatial needs survey done in 2014 showed the city offices need about 25,000 square feet, and are currently housed in a 9,400 square foot building. In addition to the construction of the new fire station, the city estimates a $1.2 million project for the renovation of the municipal building.

The council agreed to the plan after a proposal to use the former library building as city hall was rejected. The new plan calls for the construction of a new fire station and will use the existing fire station to expand space for the police department and city hall.