Third fire station planned

Jackson-Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department is planning to build a third fire station to better serve the Mutton Creek subdivision and those residents along U.S. 31 and U.S. 50 east of Seymour.

Fire Chief Kurt Fenneberg said the department’s two existing stations — at Dudleytown and on Yankee Road south of Freeman Field — are too far away from those east side residential areas. That distance is causing increased insurance rates for homeowners, he said.

Plans call for the new station to be built at 11033 E. County Road 500N, south of U.S. 50 and east of U.S. 31. The location also will help put the department closer to Reddington to provide quicker mutual aid.

Even with good response times from its two existing stations, Fenneberg said the fire department is not meeting the fire protection rating distance requirement for the east side of its coverage area.

The department serves all of Jackson Township that is outside Seymour city limits and all of Washington Township. The area is about nine miles east to west and about 10 miles north to south.

“Because our stations are more than four miles away from the east side, it’s making our rating null and void,” Fenneberg said.

In the past, the department had a station at Kriete’s Corner on U.S. 31 south of U.S. 50, but Fenneberg said the property was sold in 2014 because it wasn’t a good location. That station had been built in the 1970s.

“It didn’t provide good access, so we sold it and have kept the money back,” he said.

The department also sold its Pine Grove station near Hangman Crossing west of city limits in 2012 and saved that money, too, Fenneberg said.

“We almost have enough money saved to buy the ground for the new station,” he said.

The 1.37-acre property on East County Road 500N is owned by Jack Maxie Sr.

On Thursday, the Seymour Plan Commission gave a favorable recommendation to a request from Marvin Huffman of Farrow and Huffman Land Surveying to rezone Maxie’s land from residential suburban to commercial to allow construction of the fire station.

“I think it’s something that really needs to be done,” Commissioner Mike Jordan said. “It’s for the betterment of the community.”

Seymour City Council will vote on the request in November. Although the property is outside city limits, it’s within the two-mile fringe where the city still has zoning jurisdiction.

Although plans haven’t been drawn up yet for the new fire station, Fenneberg said the building will be functional, not fancy.

“We don’t have quotes yet, but it will be a pole barn or frame structure, very similar to the one on Yankee Road, just not as big,” he said.

The station on Yankee Road was built in 2011 and replaced the Pine Grove station. It had a price tag of about $175,000.

The department has a new truck on order and will move one of its trucks currently in use to the new station to satisfy insurance requirements.

Funding to pay for construction of the station will come from the department’s budget, which is supported in part by fire district tax revenue.

Fenneberg said with around 15 volunteer firefighters on staff, he doesn’t know if they will need to recruit more for the new station.

“We got several new ones in the last year, so we’ve got good numbers,” he said.

Fenneberg’s goal is to have the new station open and running sometime next year.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.