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Elizabeth VFD to get $500,000 after all

After months worth of meetings and hours upon hours of discussion, the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. finally received an answer from the Harrison County Council Monday night regarding its $500,000 request to basically rebuild the firehouse in Elizabeth.
While the department won’t get the money for exactly what it wanted to begin with, it will receive the full $500,000.
The council approved $200,000 to Taylor Township for the construction of a substation firehouse to meet the needs of the residents and improve their ISO rating and, subsequently, lower their homeowner’s insurance rates and $200,000 to Posey Township for repair work on the downtown Elizabeth fire station.
The remaining $100,000 will be put aside until final numbers are gathered to determine where it needs to go.
The county council approved the money for the townships because it legally can’t give money directly to fire departments.
The location for the substation in Taylor Township has yet to be decided, but it will be similar to the recently built Harrison Township VFD substation along Fairview Church Road south of Corydon.
According to the R.W. Bassett & Associates report, the three-bay structure should be built close to the Posey-Taylor Township line. Harrison Township spent nearly $232,000 on its building, according to Councilman Gary Davis.
Councilman Kyle Nix, called the council’s construction expert by Davis, estimated the cost of renovations at their main station (including converting one west bay to office space) would be $125,000; $145,000 would be needed to build two new bays to the south of the existing east bays.
The proposal will result in the department having a total of 10 bays: seven at the main Elizabeth station and three at the proposed substation. The department’s originally-requested plan would have given it 11 bays at the main station.
The motion passed 6-0, with Councilman Sam Day absent. (According to Davis, Day had expressed to him earlier in the day that his vote would have been to give EVFD the full $500,000.)
Davis thanked his fellow councilmembers, EVFD representatives and others for working diligently on the project.
He said needed work for the volunteer fire departments in Palmyra and Ramsey (a Blue River Township substation has been proposed) will have to be addressed later.
In other business, Harrison County Parks board president Larry Shickles addressed concerns about the pool at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth.
‘The park board never, ever said they’re closing the pool,’ he said.
A future plan for South Harrison Park, presented to a subcommittee, not the park board, showed two options for the future of the park; neither included a pool.
Shickles said the park board plans to look at the future of pools in the county as a whole but mentioned that the time will come when the South Harrison Park pool, now 35 years old, will be beyond repair because of the way it was built on limestone.
Hopefully, a band-aid approach will allow the pool to stay open through the 2015 season.
The cost to put in a new pool would be about $3 million, Shickles said, and the county would have to discuss what’s best for the park and swimming in the county since the summer break is shorter these days with most school corporations using a balanced calendar.
The parks board also has a request in front of it for a splash pad/park for Buffalo Trace Park near Palmyra, which will also be included in the board’s overall look at swimming needs/possibilities in the county.
The county council’s next meeting will be Monday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.