Local and state officials were on hand Thursday for the groundbreaking on a new Emergency Services Facility building.
About 50 people attended the ceremony which was held outside of the Township hall on Tenth Street.
Officials said plans to expand and construct a new fire station, adjacent to the current building, have been in the works for 21 years. Township voters made it possible last August when they approved a not-to-exceed 20-year, $3.2 million general bond to pay for a new emergency services facility and other related improvements. The new facility is expected to be up and running in January 2022.
“This is a happy and humbling occasion,” said Marv Radtke, the Township supervisor and former trustee. “Thanks to all of you – from the residents, EMS staff and other partners – who have collaborated to make this possible and allow us to provide the highest level of services.”
“This is a monumental step and an exciting time for our department,” said Daryl Case, the Township’s Emergency Services chief. “With our expanding services we have managed to utilize the current station to its capacity, however, we were limited by our current footprint.”
“I am elated that we are finally moving forward with this facility,” said Judith Kramer, Township clerk. “It’s been a long time coming. The completion will bring closure to years of hard work and turn a dream into reality for many.
“We owe a big ‘thank you’ to our residents for their continued support. We could not do this without them.”
Kramer also added a note of thanks to the late Rose Corneillie, who passed away in 1995 but left a substantial family trust donation to the fire department to start the account for the project.
Consultant Fleis & VandenBrink of Traverse City began working on the current project in 2017 as part a governmental complex master plan. F&V is currently providing design and construction engineering services.
“It is especially rewarding and exciting for me to see the new EMS facility moving forward,” said Ben Kladder, F&V’s project manager and a Green Lake Township resident since 2013. “I feel privileged to be working on this project.
“The Township looked at lot of options, including remodeling the old building. They looked outside the box and left no stone unturned. This site and option made the most sense.”
Kladder said the Township’s EMS has done an exceptional job serving the community while operating in outdated and undersized facilities.
Subcontractors working on the project include: AJ’s Excavating, Honor, excavation and site work; Lyonnais, Inc., Lowell, concrete and general trades; D&W Mechanical, Traverse City, mechanical and plumbing; Top Line Electric, Traverse City, electrical; Total Fire Protection, Grand Rapids, fire protection; Rapid Hardware, Grand Rapids, specialties; and Pearson Drilling Company, Lake City, wells.
Radtke said the new building will provide much-needed up-to-date apparatus bays, sleeping quarters and education/training rooms. It will be more functional for staff which means quicker response times.
“In the last four-plus years, our residents have seen us grow from a volunteer fire and basic life support agency to a 7/24/365 staffed advance life support and firefighting agency,” Radtke said. “This could not have happened without their support and foresight of ‘life is time and time is life response’ team and facility.
“This will help our recruitment and the retention of a lifestyle of public service personnel that has seen a dramatic drop nationwide.”
Case said the new facility will assist his department with providing better services.
“The facility will have fire suppression in the sleeping quarters,” Case added. “There will be a dedicated exercise/workout area and classroom for training and sponsoring education programs.
Case said the new facility will have a decontamination/disinfecting area separate from normal department activities, laundering equipment for firefighting gear, SCBA compressor and filling station, equipment storage and a maintenance area off of the apparatus floor.
“This station will be conducive for our 24-hour staffing and I believe it will assist with recruitment and retention of first responders,” Case said.
The current fire-rescue facility will be used for Township administration, including offices, meeting space, storage and training.
“This groundbreaking is an amazing testament to the community’s dedication to improving services,” said Andy Marek, Township treasurer. “It will also provide some return to normalcy in the community after battling a pandemic for the last year.
“We needed a celebration, and this is a great achievement for our community to celebrate.”
State Rep. John Roth, of Traverse City, commended Township residents and officials for all their efforts and offered his assistance on future needs.
“I visited here about a month ago and saw the vision of this new building that is going to be constructed,” Roth said. “I was really impressed.
“There’s been a lot of hard work already done and if there is anything the state or myself can be help with, I’d be happy to be your partner.”