HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the land purchase for a new fire station site in Turon. One of the main issues, along with the current building not being weather tight, is that new apparatus are too large for the building. More than one commissioner noted that while talking about the land purchase.
"With all the equipment and the size necessary to meet the requirements, they are just too big, too large to fit in the normal length that the old buildings are," said Commissioner Ron Hirst. "This is about 16 miles from Arlington, give or take a mile or two. To have a station out there is pretty important, I think."
The district has been planning to build a new station and a few years ago, the large lot on the southeast corner of Burns and Chicago was for sale. The commission agreed to let the fire district purchase the land for $5000, though Commissioner Daniel Friesen thinks that maybe a larger discussion on how to do fire coverage across the county might be needed soon.
"At some point, I think we need a strategic plan on maybe consolidating some of the districts out west, understanding how much is structure fire versus wildland fire," Friesen said. "Maybe, considering if we consolidate, having a paid professional team out there. I know this is a sensitive topic for rural parts of our county and those that volunteer. This is not anything against them. It's just over time, I have seen certain districts have strong leadership, strong volunteerism and over time, that can change and it kind of ebbs and flows a little bit."
Right now, Turon has that strong department. Friesen's concern is what happens if that changes, but since the only issue in front of them was the land purchase on Tuesday, the commissioners all agreed that buying the lot was something they would allow the fire district to do.