The town of Collins is slated to receive a $188,800 loan and a $41,200 grant to build a new fire station to replace the existing one which has been damaged by termites.
The money comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and was announced Wednesday by Sen. Tom Harkin as part of a total $678,000 that is being distributed for rural development projects across the state.
Collins is using the funding to build a new station for its 16-member volunteer fire department. The current station was first built in 1979, and expanded in later years. The recent discovery of termite damage to the building’s wood frame and heaving in the concrete foundation have rendered the station structurally unsound, said Brett Comegys, the mayor of the small town in southeastern Story County.
The existing building will be torn down in the spring of 2014, and the new station built on site.
"I believe in creating solutions that are going to be lasting," Comegys said. "I don’t want a quick fix. We’re going to do it and do it right. We’re hopefully going to make the building last longer, for another 40-50 years."
The new station will utilize termite-resistant materials and be a steel-frame building.
Collins must first use the USDA loan money before they will be eligible to receive the $41,200 grant. The town has already received another grant from the Department of Natural Resources to tear down the existing station, and Comegys said they have several other grants pending in order to lighten the load to tax payers as much as possible.
Comegys is confident the town can repay the $188,800 loan in 2-3 years.
"We’re going to be fiscally responsible, and we want to do all the work ourselves," Comegys said. "We’re going to keep the budget manageable. The community is really working together to make these things happen."
Currently, the city is working on contingency plans as the volunteer fire department will without a facility during the demolition and rebuilding process.
"We’re going to work quickly to get that ready," Comegys said. "We’re looking at using commercial space in the area, and may use the public works building to house the trucks."
Public Works Director Darren Kennedy predicts the entire construction process will take 4-6 months.
"The building itself will expand compared to the current building," Kennedy said. "We’re going to try to utilize all the space that we have where the station sits."
Kennedy said the department will gain about 25 feet of additional training and office space.
"It may allow us to put a cooking or kitchen area in, as we use the fire station during city events," Kennedy said.