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New fire station discussion continues

JACKSONTOWN – Monday night, Licking Township Trustees continued their discussion about building a new facility for the Licking Township Fire Company. Previously, Trustee John Holman said trustees are sure they don’t want a new firehouse that would “only be a place to park trucks.” Holman said trustees would like to see a new firehouse include a community center; he said a new facility should offer a conference room for Scouts or other local organizations to meet whenever they like.

Holman and Trustee President Joe Hart were both clear funding for a new firehouse would not come from the three-mills levy voters approved in November, which supports 24/7 fire and EMS staffing for the Licking Township Fire Company.

Monday night, Trustee Dave Miller said he would like to set up a meeting with an architect to discuss ideas for a new building and what’s feasible to build. He was clear that a design firm would’t be hired until the project goes out to bid, after sufficient progress is made. “We’ll meet and see what our ideas are,” he said, without disclosing the name of the designer. Miller said trustees would look at other townships’ fire stations, including Thorn Township, for ideas and comparisons, but said Licking Township is very much in the “exploratory” stage on this project.

“I don’t think we’ve decided what we want to build yet,” Hart said. He said once trustees have a concept for a new facility, they may begin addressing specifics.

In other township news:

• Holman said the township is ready to close on roughly an acre of land to be added to the east side of Jacksontown Cemetery for future expansion. He said the property is being purchased from the Moore family for approximately

$6,000. The closing was to take place March 10. Hart said the Moores have already received $2,000 and the township covered processing costs.

“We’ve all recognized it’s a good opportunity,” Hart said. He believes the transaction has been fair and equitable to everyone involved.

• During the trustees’ Feb. 29 meeting, Fiscal Officer Andrea Lynch described some of the township’s achievements last year, including generating investment income. Other achievements were:

• Attaining a FEMA grant for a new fire truck: The township will be responsible for paying $57,725 of the fire truck’s total purchase price of $319,630. The FEMA grant will cover the remaining $261,905.

• The aforementioned three-mills fire levy was approved by an unofficial 886 to 598 tally. Seven years ago voters narrowly rejected an additional three-mill fire levy by 58 votes.

• A crowd jammed Licking Township Fire Company bays to bid happy birthday in September to township resident Mildred “Millie” Ryan, who turned 104 years old.

• The township disposed of a significant amount of obsolete equipment.

• Township crews repaved 13 roads.

“It was a full year for us,” Holman said, adding that a $4 million, EPA mandated sewer system installation project in Jacksontown presented challenges last year. Licking County Water and Wastewater Director Kevin Eby said the project ran roughly 20 percent over budget, and he had hoped substantial completion would have occurred last February instead of Nov. 12, but Mother Nature intervened. “The main challenge was the extremely wet spring and early summer,” Eby said. “(Contractor) Schaffer Excavating also ran into several areas of very poor soil conditions. These were the main cause for delayed completion and additional construction cost.”

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