October 23, 2014

Plans for EOC building taking shape

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STANDISH — The Standish Area Fire Authority (SAFA), Arenac County Emergency Management, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the city of Standish are applying for a Fire Station Construction Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which was infused with $210 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

According to SAFA Chief Mitch Oliver, if awarded the grant, a new building would be erected behind the current SAFA barn on M-61 and would be used for not only SAFA storage and meetings, but would also be utilized by DNR Fire, the Standish Department of Public Works and Standish City Police.

Plans for applying for the grant were discussed on June 10 and Scott Heather, DNR, says when applying for the funds, several criteria must be met.

“You’ve got to show financial need, you’ve got to show the existing station is inadequate, show how this improves your ability to be a first responder,” Heather said.

According to Oliver, the current situation for SAFA does support the need for the FEMA funds.

“We’ve got two turned down millages that show we can’t do this on our own,” he said. “That one’s (existing fire barn) 35 years old roughly and it was a band-aid at that time.”

During discussions last week, representatives from the units seeking the grant shared rough drawings and blue prints of needed space for their areas of operation, however a final site or blueprint is yet to be complete. Oliver said the building could also serve as training grounds for not only the SAFA, but surrounding fire departments as well.

The issue of what to do with the existing fire barn was also raised during the meeting.

“The structure is sound,” said Al Sheppard, Standish Department of Public Works. “We could use the old building if it’s renovated.”

Present at the meeting, which was held at Standish City Hall, were Mike Moran, Standish City Manager; Oliver; Heather; Don Hamilton, Lapham Associates; Curt Hillman, Standish Township Supervisor; Ed Rohn, Arenac County Emergency Management Coordinator; and Sheppard.

Heather is preparing the grant application and the groups are coming to the table again Wednesday.

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