SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Sullivan City Fire Chief, Rob Robertson, said the city has been in need of a new firehouse for some time and a 14-million-dollar housing initiative coming downtown makes plans for the current firehouse.
“We didn’t sell the fire station,” JD Wilson confirmed to WTWO’s Jen Thompson. “The fire station will be leaving when this 14-million-dollar housing investment comes into the city, they will demolish that fire station.”
City Councilman, Scott Brown said the need for a new station was there prior to plans for the housing development.
“This was a temporary firehouse put in play in the early 80’s,” Brown said. “Here we are in 2023, it’s still a temporary firehouse,” he added.
Nearly 40 years later, Robertson said from the outdated facility to the lack of space, the city is in dire need of a new station, “Having more equipment, the trucks getting bigger, we just don’t have the housing to store all of the equipment that we have,” he said.
As the city continues plans for more housing, Roberston said it’s a great time to make plans for the firehouse.
Back in February, we reported that the City of Sullivan was awarded a $500,000 Public Facilities CDBG grant by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). That funding was reported to support the construction of a new five-bay station but that grant alone isn’t enough.
Brown said, they also applied for grants through the Department of Defense as the city fire department provides fire protection service to the Crane Test Facility, “We went through the DCIP which is through Glendora Test Facility, we have been turned down twice for the grant on that.”
That grant application named 801 North Broad Street in Sullivan as the site for the new firehouse. Brown said that the property isn’t off the table yet. “That property is still owned by the city. Currently, could still be on the table to build there, we do not know who the players are going to be with us.”
The Sullivan City Fire Department doesn’t just respond within the city limits.
“We also contract with Hamilton Township, which the City of Sullivan is in Hamilton Township, so we have a contract with them,” Robertson said. “We do all of their fire protection in the Hamilton Township. And we are also mutually agreed with all the other townships in the county,” he added.
Brown said the council continues to look for funding sources and grant opportunities.
“In the city council meeting we voted to explore a referendum along with Hamilton Township to currently build a new firehouse and operating expenses,” Brown said. “A full-time firehouse, full-time fire staff. Not a voluntary firehouse.”
Sullivan Mayor Elect, JD Wilson said, that as of now, when it comes time to demolish the current fire station, the city has a few temporary places in mind.
“We’ll make sure everything is taken care of and their needs will be met. And if it is temporary, that’s still just working on a permanent solution,” Wilson said.
Chief Robertson said the option of temporarily utilizing the old East Side fire station is a possibility and assures the community they shouldn’t notice a change in response during that interim period.