The funds were awarded through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applied for by Russellville grant writer Kay Simmons.
“This is a dream come true for me. I have been working on this grant for the past two years and being able to be a part of the process which will benefit these brave men and women who risk their lives everyday is an overwhelming experience," said Simmons.
Beshear was joined Wednesday afternoon with an array of guests including Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder, State Senator Joey Pendleton, Representative Martha Jane King, Logan County’s mayors, judge/executive, council members, magistrates, fire fighters and their families at the old Chrysler building behind McDonalds, where the new fire station will be located.
“The grant will enhance public safety and sustainability in the area,” said Beshear who opened the ceremony by saying, “This is a beautiful day today but even if it were raining and storming right now the sun would be shining down on Russellville today.”
The half a million dollars will be used to rehabilitate a currently vacant building donated to the city years ago by the Rockwell Corporation. The new facility will be 11,136 square feet and will house a staff of 27 firefighters. It will have seven bays that can accommodate all of the fire department’s vehicles.
The new station will be rehabbed with the latest green technologies that will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building standards.
The new green technologies for the station will include increased R-value insulation to prevent leaking air, low-E glass coating on the windows to assist in heating the building in the winter, a green roof that will filter and reuse rain water to decrease storm water runoff and a wind spire to be installed on the southwest corner of the building to help generate electricity from wind for the facility.
“The Russellville Fire Department is responsible for serving 2,463 homes in the Russellville area,” said Gov. Beshear. “The fire department responds to more than 100 calls per year and is called upon to assist surrounding areas as well. The new Russellville Fire Station is not only environmentally friendly, but will allow Logan County residents to receive more efficient and effective emergency response services.”
“This is a great day for the citizens of Russellville and the firefighters who serve them,” said Zick adding, “I cannot express enough gratitude to Governor Beshear and Commissioner Wilder for their support of this project. Gratitude must also be given to Mrs. Simmons for her hard work and dedication in obtaining this grant. Kay works very hard for the city and her efforts will be seen by her grandchildren and their grandchildren.”
Senator Pendleton said he was pleased that Russellville is receiving these funds.
“The new green technology planned for the building rehabilitation will make the center model for others in the state, but most importantly, this project will mean our citizens will be safer. My compliments to Kay Simmons for doing such an outstanding job in writing the grant for funding this project,” said Pendleton.
Representative King was delighted to be in Russellville with the Governor to present the check. “I know how hard mayor Zick, and his grant writer Kay Simmons, and other staff have worked to obtain this money for the new “green” fire station and I know all the firefighters in Russellville are as excited as I am,” said King.
Russellville Fire Chief Billy Poole was very pleased to hear about the award, it has been a long hard process, he said.
“Kaye spent many long hours at her computer and on the phone trying to obtain this grant. The City firefighters went out door to door with the required surveys to be completed by residents who were very glad to help us and I know are just as excited as we are about the grant,” said Poole.
Poole said the current location has served the community for years but the department has grown and the fire department vehicles have gotten much bigger and the fire fighters are just out of room.
“The new location will give us the room we need to grow and a large training room is planned for the building. Right now we can only seat about 12 to 15 firefighters, the new training room will seat 30 firefighters,” Poole said.
When the firefighters report to work at 7 a.m., they are at the station for 24 hours. That means they eat, sleep and work at the station. Right now Poole says he has three firefighters trying to eat on a five foot counter. “We don’t have room for a kitchen table like a modern day fire departments. Our current station was designed for one full-time fire fighter back in the 1970s, we now have three full-time crews staffed 24-7,” said Poole.
“Without the relentless pursuit of this grant by Mayor Zick and grant writer Kaye Simmons this day would have never happened. I want to personally and publicly thank them both from all of us at the Fire Department. This was no easy task and the work has just began. There are a lot more hoops to jump through and paper work to get done.”