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Councilmen show support for firehouse

Two Harrison County Councilmembers showed their support last Tuesday night for the funding needed for a firehouse in north Blue River Township at the council’s last regular meeting in May.
The issue was brought up near the conclusion of the meeting when Blue River Township residents John and Kathy Train asked about the status of the project.
Township Trustee Michael Beyerle came to the county in February to request $150,000 to pay for a little more than half of the cost to build the firehouse. Beyerle said the township would pay for the remainder of the cost. The request has yet to be approved or denied by the county commissioners, so the county council can’t vote on it.
The commissioners are waiting to hear from the Harrison County Fire Chiefs’ Association about its next three-year plan. The plan will have Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept., which cover Blue River Township, at the top of the list, the commissioners were told.
The money the council alloted to the fire chiefs for this year ($500,000) has already been given to Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. for improvements to an existing station and the construction of a substation near the Posey-Taylor township line.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper said he attended a recent meeting with the fire chiefs and was told that the project would be brought back to the fire chiefs for discussion, at the request of the commissioners.
‘I said that’s redundant,’ Heitkemper said. ‘As far as I’m concerned, I was ready to fund it a long time ago. I know what your situation is and know exactly what needs to be done. I see no reason to slow anything down.
‘And I’ll tell you what,’ he added, ‘it’ll be a terrible sin if someone dies because we haven’t done anything.’
Council chair Gary Davis said the last he spoke with fire chiefs’ association president Tony Combs, he said they would address the three-year plan soon.
John Train, who is a former volunteer firefighter, said the bottom line is Blue River Township doesn’t have a firehouse.
‘I was on a truck that got to a house too late,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to see families go through what we saw.’
Train said there’s been two recent house fires in the area, one along Adams Road and another along North Road.
‘We’re ready to vote on it; it’s just got to get to us,’ Councilman Richard Gerdon said.
Gerdon said the commissioners should deny it or pass it so the folks in Blue River Township know where they stand.
Beyerle has said in the past that it will be built with borrowed money if it comes to that.
‘I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone sitting in this room, watching at home or that reads the newspaper that I’m 100 percent on board with this project,’ Councilman Kyle Nix said. ‘I’d vote for it today if it was in front of me. I don’t see what the holdup is.’
Nix said Beyerle has moved forward with the purchase of the land for the building and will continue to move forward with the project with the money he has available.
‘If we had Dec. 7, 1941, all over again, we’d lose because we can’t get our head out of our behind to get going on this, and it’s embarrassing,’ Heitkemper said. ‘We ought to get this going.’
Davis said it is going; it just hasn’t got to the council yet.
Commissioner George Ethridge agreed, and said it’s going through the process.
‘It’s on a merry-go-round; that’s where it’s at,’ Heitkemper said. ‘I don’t like it. We could do it in 45 days if we wanted to.’
The council’s next meeting will be Monday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.

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