Tim Darland, High Prairie Fire Chief, on behalf of the Fire Commissioners and High Prairie Community Council (HPCC), welcomed guests to celebrate the grand opening of High Prairie Fire Department Station #2 on Saturday May 18.
Chief Darland emceed the event and provided a timeline of the 16-year journey that it took to build Station 2. This project started in 2003 when a local landowner (Ron Olin) donated the property. The location of this station will provide equality for homeowner insurance ratings throughout the fire district footprint.
Some site prep was completed in 2007 along with a site plan but funding roadblocks were the norm. The project gained traction in late 2014 with the demolition of a derelict structure on the property and the submittal of a Conditional Use Permit in early 2015. The fire district began to seek alternative funding sources though the USDA loan program.
Chief Darland thanked the Board of County Commissioners for waiving many of the county fees in this process and also thanked the planning department for working with the fire district as the project was delayed for a multitude of reasons.
In mid-2015, the Fire Commissioners compiled a final building specification sheet for a 5-bay steel building that went out for bid. The one returned bid was at a much higher cost than expected, so back to the drawing board to find cost saving measures.
In 2016, the fire district was in the pre-loan phase with USDA who wanted to view the last 3 years of audits. The department was in the middle of a secretary transition and the backlog of audits was completed. Great job to secretary Glenna Scott for completing the backlog audits. Two members of the High Prairie community (Arlen and Sharon Aleckson) worked with Representative Mosbrucker and inquired about available funding through Washington State.
The fire district submitted an application in early 2017 for a capital improvement project that was championed by Rep Mosbrucker. Rep Mosbrucker was instrumental in moving the application through the Washington State legislative branches.
Governor Jay Inslee signed the 2017 appropriations bill in January of 2018 which included funding for Station 2. The fire district received a total of $434,000 state appropriated dollars.
The fire district commissioners revised the building specifications to include a 4-bay steel building and an underground water storage system engineered by Conservation Technology to collect the rainwater/snow melt from the roof of the structure. Kaban Homes Inc. received the bid to build the new fire station and did an exceptional job.
“We are thankful to so many of you for supporting us along the way. To our community, the High Prairie Community Council, Klickitat County Commissioners, Public Works, and Planning Department, Lyle Fire Department, the High Prairie firefighters, Arlen and Sharon Aleckson, and to Representative Gina Mosbrucker,” said Chief Darland.
The ribbon cutting was followed by a BBQ sponsored by the High Prairie Community Council.