BAZETTA - Plans are being drawn up and a letter sent carrying the township's intention to purchase five acres of land for a consolidated fire station.
In February 2012, the township paid $7,000 for a yearlong contract with the option of purchasing the plot off Warren Meadville Road near the intersection of state Route 305. On Jan. 15, the township finally decided to purchase the land with $150,000 from its general fund.
Fire Chief Dennis Lewis said he hopes to cut costs and increase the department's effectiveness by combining the current two stations at the strategically located new station.
"In 2008, Bazetta Township first felt the economic impact," Lewis said. "We manned two fire stations with six personnel."
Lewis said the township is split in two by Mosquito Creek Reservoir. Essentially, the station on Everett Hull Road takes care of the west side of the township, while the station on McCleary Jacoby Road cares for the east side.
The current stations were built on free property or are in donated buildings. As they sit now, Lewis said a one-mile radius around his fire stations covers more of the Mecca, Bristol and Champion areas than Bazetta.
"We wanted a central location to benefit both sides of the community," Lewis said.
With the new location, Lewis said the response time to any area in the township should average five minutes, seven minutes at the most.
Lewis said they have been saving money the past couple years for the construction. He said he has a $500,000 carryover and hopes to add $150,000 more by the end of the year.
"I understand the concern by taxpayers," he said.
Trustee Don Urchek estimated the new station will cost about $1 million dollars. The remaining cost will most likely come from a loan, he said.
Lewis assured that the new station will be cost-effective and will be about 4,000 square feet smaller than the Everett Hall station.
"We're not building the Taj Mahal or anything like that," the chief said.
Urchek said it may be a while before any ground is broken. Township officials have been meeting with architects Baker Bednar Snyder and Associates Inc. of Warren to draw up plans for the future station. They still need to clear and level the land.
"We're getting down to the nitty gritty," Urchek said. ''I'm feeling excited about it."
Previously, the township had been considering a building to house the fire department, police department and several offices, but opted for just consolidating the fire department because the police didn't have adequate funding to support the endeavor.