May 08, 2013 - The Addison Township Fire Department could throw an old-fashioned mortgage-burning party, but it would probably receive a 9-1-1 call to extinguish the blaze.
Addison’s firefighters are pretty pleased that Station #1 is finally paid off. Back row (from left): Kyle Klein, Kameron Klein, Lt. Mike Zielinski, Sgt. Chuck Johnson, Asst. Chief John Beach and Kelly Lindberg. Front row (from left): Helen Toteff, Kelly Klein, Capt. Michelle Mead, Chief Jerry Morawski, Lt. W Rippetoe, Angela Haines and Marilyn Szost. (click for larger version)
After nine years of making payments, Fire Station #1, located at 4026 Forest Rd. in the Village of Leonard, is officially paid off.
Back in 2003, the township borrowed $850,000 from Oxford Bank to help build the 12,660-square-foot station, which serves as the department's headquarters.
That loan was combined with the $600,000 the department had already saved for a new facility.
"I remember when I started (with the department) in 1994, they were already putting money away to build another station," said Fire Chief Jerry Morawski.
No tax increases were sought or levied for the project.
Addison made its first loan payment in May 2004 and over the years, the department paid a total of $1,003,522 in principle and interest. The interest rate on the loan was 3.495 percent.
"To give us that money in the first place shows that we have a lot of support from the community," Morawski said.
The department moved into the new station in August 2004. It replaced Leonard's existing Fire Station #1, which had only 1,400 square feet of space and was constructed in 1949.
The new station provided things like a training area, adequate storage space for vehicles and sleeping quarters, so it could be manned 24 hours a day in order to provide Advanced Life Support services to residents.
"It was definitely needed, for sure," the chief said.
Morawski doesn't believe there will be a need to expand again for quite a while because "there was a lot of good planning" that went into this station. He gave former Fire Chief George Spencer credit for that.
"He thought about what we'll need 50 years from now and tried to accommodate that with the budget we had," he said. "Spencer did a pretty good job on that."
Spencer resigned as chief in March 2009 after nearly 11 years of heading the Addison department.
Morawski is glad Fire Station #1 is finally debt-free, so now the department can "move on and catch up with some of our capital expenditures."
The scheduled replacement of some fire vehicles has been "neglected due to paying off the building," according to the chief. "We have two that need to be replaced."
Morawski is looking to replace a 26-year-old tanker truck and an ambulance from 2005.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.