By Howard Greninger
CLINTON, Ind. — New facilities for ambulance service and fire protection are on the horizon for the city of Clinton.
Earlier this month, a building that once housed the Mulberry Cafe in the 200 block of Mulberry Street, was demolished to make way for a new ambulance building for Illiana EMS.
And by late summer 2019, the city of Clinton will know if a $500,000 state grant is awarded that will allow construction of a new $1.5 million fire station just down the street in the 300 block of Mulberry Street.
If approved, construction of a new fire station could start in the fall, said Clinton Mayor Jack Gilfoy.
Illiana EMS in January began providing ambulance service to Vermillion County as part of a three-year contract.
Eric Shaughnessy, owner and director of Illiana EMS, said Monday the design is underway for a new 4,000-square-foot metal building that will house two ambulances with the ability to expand to four vehicles. That new building will also provide for emergency medical technician training as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation training.
“The crew quarters will be there, offices and training facility,” Shaughnessy said. “We have a training location in Paris, Illinois, now for EMT classes, advanced EMT classes and first responder classes and CPR classes, so we will be able to do all of those there [in Clinton] now.”
The company currently leases a facility on Crompton Hill, but that facility is too small for training, he said. The company also has a facility in Cayuga in Vermillion County with one full-time ambulance.
The company started in October 2003, opening the Edgar County Special Service Area Ambulance in Paris.
“We have about 50 employees between both [Illinois and Indiana], and we may add a few more people [in Clinton] once we get the new building up and going,” Shaughnessy said.
Construction is slated for the spring and will require three to four months to complete, Shaughnessy said.
For the city of Clinton, work to get a new fire station began in 2009, said Clinton Fire Department Chief Chris Strohm.
In 2012, the city was gifted from First Financial Bank a foreclosed property that once housed a school building. The building, in poor condition, was demolished for a future fire station.
Then in 2017, Vermillion County officials increased a local income tax, which included funding for public safety. That, Strohm said, will allow the city to provide $1 million of the projected $1.5 million cost. The city will know by August 2019 if it will receive a $500,000 grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for the new station, Strohm said.
“We feel really confident on the OCRA grant,” Strohm said. “If we get that grant, the light is definitely getting brighter at the end of the tunnel.”
The city’s plan calls for a new 10,000-square-foot station, three times larger than the current station, which contains about 3,300 square feet, the fire chief said.
The new station, Strohm said, “will be sitting on the exact property of the original fire house built in 1907. And, it will be just down the street from the new ambulance building.”
The current fire station has three bays, but the city has four firefighting vehicles. A new metal-with-brick -accent station will have four bays, with room for eight pieces of equipment, plus office space, training and a workout area. “It will have a lot more clean storage for our gear and equipment,” Strohm said.
Additionally, the new station is planned to have a bunk room for each of three shifts, plus a community bedroom, allowing the station to sleep up to eight firefighters.
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