Wheatland firehouse planning committee gets underway

This photo shows the proposed site of the new Town of Wheatland Fire Department firehouse in New Munster. It is just south of the current firehouse, the edge of which can be seen in the far left of this photo.

The committee that will guide the process of constructing a new firehouse for the Town of Wheatland Fire Department held its first meeting Monday at Town Hall in New Munster.

Committee members and meeting times were set, with a stated goal to get decisions made over the next few months to move the project forward.

The new facility is being planned for land just south of the current firehouse in New Munster.

The committee will be made up of: Chief Lou Denko, Assistant Chief Brian Kerkman, Jeff Koenen, John Winter, Bret Butler, town Supervisor Kelly Wilson and Jim Scherrer, of Scherrer Construction, the firm hired by the Town Board as construction manager. Traci Denko will record minutes of the meetings.

The committee decided to meet every other Monday, starting after the holidays. With just one Town Board member on the committee, the meetings won’t have to be noticed as public meetings.

“We’ve got a lot of information, but let’s start getting this on paper,” Scherrer said.

One of the first tasks will be to develop plans of the facility, perhaps in a couple of configurations, said Scherrer.

Due to a previously conducted needs survey by another construction company, what the department feels it needs is known, Scherrer said. The end result will likely be some sort of pre-engineered building.

One new need that Chief Denko raised was room to accommodate space for one or possibly two ambulances, as a result of changes due to the upcoming end of emergency medical service by Silver Lake Rescue Squad. Denko said he also likes the idea of the station having space for the Wheatland constable and sheriff’s deputies to use to add additional security to the facility. Parking for firefighters will be located behind the building to the east and fire trucks will exit to the west.

“We know what your wants and needs are,” Scherrer said. “We can out those on paper and have discussions. I think the process will move quickly.”

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