G. Rapids Twp. wants to avoid fire station levy

GRAND RAPIDS – Too many questions are unanswered for the Grand Rapids Township trustees to be able to
make plans for a new fire hall.
During their meeting Monday, attended by trustees Les Heyman and George Foos, Assistant Fire Chief
Richard Keifer asked if they had any idea of putting a levy on and getting the property offered by
village council.
"We don’t know for sure what the deal is," replied Heyman. "We received a letter saying
they were making (land) available. We’ve also tried to run levies. Right now is not a good time to put a
levy on."
But Keifer replied, "You don’t know until you try." He asked how long it had been since a fire
levy failed, and Heyman answered, "It’s an asset to us we’ve never had a levy go down."
He said the trustees have to "put all our ducks in a row to see how much we’d need. We need things
clarified so we know where we’re going." Heyman did add there is time to put a levy on, though
"I don’t feel it’s a good time."
One key issue remains the land on which to build a new fire station. Keifer said village council is
giving the trustees the land for a fire hall. "What do you need a deed for?" he asked.
"You want the property deeded over to the township," added Ritchie Keifer. "If you build a
fire station, is it going to go anywhere? A fire department is going nowhere."
"We don’t know what process we’re going to need," replied Heyman. "Weston Fire Department
bought its property from Weston for a dollar. The deed is in their name. We might have to do a lease
purchase. We need it in our name.
"If it’s in our name that’s not a problem (to have a deed restriction). I don’t have a problem, but
the deed has to be in the township’s name. I don’t know what direction we’ll have to go. I know the pool
and library are on village property. We don’t know what the future will bring, so we need it in the
township’s name. I don’t know why they want to maintain control of the property."
Fire Chief Lon Tonjes interjected, "How many years have we had the town hall in both names, and we
don’t get along?"
Foos added, "We’ve been in this building how many years, and now with any contracts we have to have
a notary for it."
"Council could change. The board of trustees could change," said Heyman. "If there’s a
deed in our name, and if there’s a deed restriction, it goes back to them. That’s how a deed restriction
works."
The trustees agreed to keep using the early warning siren in town to alert the township to severe
weather, but township residents were encouraged to take personal responsibility and buy a National
Oceanic and Aeronautic Administration weather alert radio themselves. Foos said he priced one with SAME
technology at Radio Shack, and it was $29.99. It can be programed for Wood County, but residents can
also get alerts for bad weather in Henry and Lucas counties.
Tonjes said the whole township isn’t being covered with the one siren in town and suggested the trustees
consider a second siren in another location. He also explained why the siren did not work in January and
February, and what repairs were made to it, including a new controller and radio receiver.
"There’s no problems with it other than a few overloads," he said.
Foos suggested several areas where visibility is low or blocking drivers’ views, following the crash of a
Weston Fire Department fire truck and another vehicle due to tall brush blocking visibility. He
suggested Euler and Wapakoneta roads, Poe and Milton roads and Long-Judson and Beaver Creek roads.
Foos also presented plans for a new salt shed which would be large enough to hold salt, cold patch and
top soil for the township to use.