The Fairland Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $40,000 Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) Grant to build the new substation.

FAIRLAND — The Fairland Volunteer Fire Department are working to build a new substation on the east side of town to provide better service to residents in rural areas.

The future substation will be built near 600 and 200 on the east side of town on 190 Road. The department was awarded a $40,000 Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) Grant in December to build the substation.

The grant’s purpose is to assist small communities, towns, counties and unincorporated with populations under 7,000. REAP grants fund a variety of projects that enhance economic development, promote intergovernmental cooperation, promote and enhance public health and safety and/or implement regional or local plans.

Fire Chief Jeff Reynolds asked the Town of Fairland’s permission during a city council meeting last year to apply for the grant. The town usually applies for the grant annually to help with water and gas projects but allowed the fire department to apply this year. Only one entity per municipality can apply for the grant annually.

“A goal of mine is to put another substation out here east of town on 190 Road,” Reynolds said to the board. “If we can get a station within five miles of somebody’s house, we get out that far, it will help everyone on their (homeowner’s) insurance. We need to take care of those people out there. They pay for fire service just like everyone else here in town does.”

Lisa Jewett, Fairland board member and fire commissioner, Mike Goins of the Fairland FD and the Ottawa County Commissioners collaborated on the project.

“Firefighter Mike Goins was the one who ran with the idea and did all of the work on it,” Jewett said. “He worked many, many hours on the project, drew out the design and conducted the research. We had several meetings and he was really on top of it. We met with the Ottawa County Commissioners and expressed our need for a new facility in that area of town. They agreed after they saw our fire numbers and the runs that we do. They helped back us on the grant.”

“We were more than happy to receive the grant,” Reynolds said. “We got a lot of help from the county commissioners. They helped us with any questions we had. The commissioners will also be helping us build the concrete pads.”

Reynolds and Jewett said the main goal of the substation is to provide a quicker response time for those who do not live near a fire station.

“Fairland has a lot of rural places that the firefighters need to service, too,” Jewett said. “It just made sense to have one on that side of Fairland because it’s a rural area and they can service them with a quicker response time. Our whole goal was to help with the response time with fires, car wrecks or anything like that.”

The Fairland Volunteer Fire Department currently has 18 firefighters, two fire engines, three tankers, three brush trucks and two fire stations. The two stations are located at the corner of North Smith St. and Railroad Ave. and a substation on East Industrial Road, which was built by a former REAP Grant.

The rural substation will be approximately 2,400 square feet, have one floor and three equipment bays. Not only will the new substation help save lives and residents money, it will also be more accessible for firefighters.

“We will be putting three trucks out there- an engine, a tanker and something to run medical calls,” Reynolds said. “The reason I wanted to put it there was for everybody who is south of there, down towards the lake to the east and everybody north of there, we will be able to get everyone within five miles of a fire station. I’ve got six firefighters that live within two miles of the new substation, so it will be a quicker response time for them.”

The REAP Grant will pay for the concrete work, the metal structure of the building and the electric.

“We feel confident that we can complete the station with that grant money,” Reynolds said. “Now, we’re in the process of going through and getting the land purchased from Eli Gould.”

For the construction process, Reynolds said the department will have to finish drawing out the final specs and then put it out for bids. They hope to begin construction in a couple of months and have the building completed and ready to move in by the summer.

“We’re really proud of the fire department for the simple reason that their main concern is the community, and the whole reason they wanted to receive this grant and build the new substation was because of the people,” Jewett said. “They want to make sure every part of Fairland is being covered equally, have a faster response time and make sure everyone is taken care of.”

Kimberly W. Barker is a staff writer for the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at kbarker@miaminewsrecord.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiamiNews_hound.