Station project moving forward

NEW PALESTINE — Sugar Creek Township is one step closer to having a new fire station.

Representatives with the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department have selected a site and purchased the land where they plan to build a larger station to keep up with growth in the area.

The new station, which will replace Station 42, 3337 U.S. 40 West, will provide more room for equipment than the current structure, officials said.

Its location — a 2.3-acre lot at the intersection of U.S. 40 and County Road 500W — is also better positioned than the current station to allow firefighters to access all corners of the township, said Bob Boyer, Sugar Creek Township trustee.

Construction on the building, which will include four bays for fire trucks and ambulances, will begin in the next year, and the station could be operational within two years, officials said.

The Sugar Creek Township Board recently approved a decision to purchase the land for $134,500. The board has not released a cost estimate for the new structure, but Boyer noted the building will cost significantly less than Station 45, which serves as the township’s main station and was built in 2004 at a cost of approximately $4.5 million.

In recent years, Station 42, a 40-year-old structure, has begun to show its age, said Sugar Creek Fire Chief John Begovich. Modern safety equipment is significantly larger than older gear, Begovich said, and the current site simply doesn’t have enough space to keep up.

The new station will be positioned in the center of the department’s service area, allowing firefighters to respond to calls across the county — unlike the current station, which was originally designed to serve residents primarily in Spring Lake, Boyer said.

The department now responds to calls as far west as Cumberland, Boyer said.

The current station isn’t positioned near a traffic light, so trucks and ambulances have to pull out onto U.S. 40 in front of traffic. The new location will provide quick and easy access to the highway via the stoplight at the corner of U.S. 40 and County Road 500W, Begovich said.

A handful of residents in homes that surround the site have expressed concerns about noise and light that might leak from the structure, but Boyer said the department will take steps to prevent the station from affecting neighbors.

The new station will be approximately 100 yards from homes in the Meadow Lakes Estates subdivision, which it will back up to, Boyer said.

Plans also call for the use of dimmer outdoor lights than most stations to prevent the structure from annoying neighbors, Begovich said.

Designs for the new station haven’t been determined yet, but Begovich and Boyer said they plan to meet with members of a building committee in coming weeks. Members of the committee have toured dozens of stations in surrounding counties in recent weeks, taking note of possible design plans.

After preliminary designs are decided, township officials will approach an architect to design the building before seeking bids for construction.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.