Hebron still looking for fire station funding

2014-03-18T21:00:00Z Hebron still looking for fire station fundingBy Phil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

HEBRON | The shutdown of the federal government last fall apparently is still having an impact.

Hebron Fire Chief Chad Franzman said the town applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build an addition to the fire station. Hebron had expected to hear something in early February but is now being told the shutdown pushed everything back.

"We're ready to go," Franzman said of the planning for the station. "We just need the money."

The town has $150,000 from the county and needs about $300,000 more to fund the first improvement to the station in 30 years. The 2 1/2 bays will have room for the county to place an ambulance in Hebron to serve the south Porter County area.

Council President Don Ensign said the town can't continue to wait for word from FEMA, so it is going to approach the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which, he said, provides loans for public improvements like the station. The state's revolving loan fund and, with the current low interest rates, commercial banks also are being considered.

"We are just trying to find the cheapest, most effective way to get it done," Ensign said. "We don't want to lose the ambulance, so we want to get it built to be sure of that."

The town has tried to get Porter Regional Hospital to open a medical facility in town for some time and learned recently doctors will be available five days a week beginning April 1. The hunt for a funding source for the fire station goes on.

"The Hebron Redevelopment Commission is getting the loan, and they will pay it off with tax increment financing money," Ensign said. "We've got to allow them time to find the best way to do it."

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