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Posted on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

Dexter Village Council explores options for new fire station, village offices

By Lisa Carolin

Dexter officials are exploring options for a new fire station and relocated village offices. Both spaces are cramped, and village officials say one option is to build an expanded station at the current location, 8140 Main St., with space for village offices.

Shawn Keough, president of the Dexter Village Council, said the village has outgrown its current space above PNC Bank, 8123 Main St., where the offices have been located for the last nine years. He said talk about a new fire station topic came up because the council thought the current fire station property might be a good location for village offices.

""The location of the current fire station is desirable to many on Village Council because it is on Main Street, in the downtown and is located near our new western gateway and park system that we are developing," he said.

Last week, the Dexter Village Council approved spending no more than $1,000 for Village Manager Donna Dettling to meet with a consulting architect about different types of construction for a new fire station. The biggest unknown is how much space the Dexter Area Fire Department will actually need.

The big ringer is that everything is in flux with the region as far as fire services," said Dettling. "Lima Township just pulled out and Dexter Township is considering going with the Chelsea Fire Department. We're talking with the Scio Fire Department about coming back in with the Dexter Area Fire Department. What happens will have a huge impact on how big our station needs to be."

Keough said that although the current fire station is providing adequate fire service, it is not ideal.

"The building is past its prime and stretched pretty thin," he says. "It lacks sufficient space for new equipment, has very tight quarters for the existing personnel to move around when all of the trucks are in the fire bays, and we do not currently meet our desire to have gender equality in terms of separate locker rooms, shower facilities and sleeping quarters for both male and female firefighters. (although there are no female firefighters at this time.)

Currently the Dexter Area Fire Department has six full time employees.

Besides the current fire station location, another option being considered is a 4-acre piece of property purchased earlier this year on Dan Hoey Road between the Industrial Park and Walkabout Creek Apartments.

Dettling said that bonds would most likely be used to pay for a new or restructured fire station, but that the Village would have to know the cost of such an undertaking before it could structure a bond.

Because there isn't enough space in the space above the PNC bank, the Village Council and the planning commission have been holding their meetings at the Dexter Senior Center.