HEBRON | Santa couldn't deliver a new fire station for Hebron last Christmas, but, with a big boost from the Porter County commissioners, he might be able to squeeze one in his sack for next Christmas.
Hebron Fire Chief Chad Franzman said he hopes to break ground for a three-bay addition to the station in a couple of months. The project seemed about to go up in smoke for lack of funds after it was estimated it would cost about $279,000 to add the bays and provide a bigger training room and two offices to the existing station.
The town's Redevelopment Commission agreed to help fund the project but had only about $120,000. Franzman said the fire department has about $10,000 of its own funds to contribute, but it still was going to be a challenge to fill in the funding gap.
"This is at least 10 years in the making," he said. "We've talked and talked about it in the fire department, but we never asked the appropriate people. I went to Commissioner Laura Blaney over a month ago and presented her with the idea of putting an ambulance there."
At this week's County Council meeting, the councilmen agreed to the commissioners' request for $150,000 for the station.
Franzman said the redevelopment commission will meet April 15 to sign a contract with Abonmarche, of Portage, to prepare construction drawings.
Franzman said Abonmarche contacted him after a story about his hopes for the station appeared in The Times in October and offered to do some preliminary concepts and cost estimates for the project. So far the company's work has been free in the hope of getting the contract for the final drawings.
The station was built in 1982 and has seven bays, but Franzman said fire trucks were smaller in those days. The town hopes one of the three new bays will house an ambulance to serve the south county area. It is yet to be decided whether Porter Regional Hospital will provide the vehicle and crew.