The only ‘smoke condition’ Middleton firefighters had to contend with June 15 was charcoal smoke from the chicken barbecue outside the truck bays – and that was all for a good cause.
The Town of Middleton and Middleton Fire Department kicked off an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise $1.4 million from local businesses, residents, and community groups to build a $3.9-million community centre and fire hall across Commercial Street from town hall.
Fire Chief Mike Toole told a small crowd gathered in front of the old hall that new and bigger space for fire trucks, gear, and firefighters is an old topic and discussions go back as far as 2008.
The current, 70-year-old hall just isn’t big enough.
“Since 1950, when the original fire hall was constructed, it has served many years of firefighting service and community events for the public,” he said. “Due to an aging building and the increasing size of fire trucks and the need for specialized equipment, our current building no longer meets our requirements of the current day.”
Chief Toole said that after several studies by engineering firms it was deemed too costly for renovations and it was recommended that a new structure be considered.
“Over the past 10 years there have been numerous hours of meetings, site selections, fundraising efforts in cooperation between the town, fire department, engineers, project managers, to get us where we are today,” Toole said. “In the past two years there has been a huge move and drive to see this project hopefully break ground in the spring of 2020.”
The new community centre and fire hall will consist of four apparatus bays, a large community space with a kitchen and canteen area, board and training room, and will be available as a comfort station in times of emergency. It will be located at the corner of Commercial and Marshall streets facing town hall.
Chief Toole said to date the site is secured, draft drawings and a site plan have been completed, and an estimated budget of $3.9 million drawn up with joint funding efforts from the Town of Middleton, Middleton Fire Department, and County of Annapolis. The project is also looking to the province and federal government for financial help.
“We have a funding shortfall of $1.4 million to bring this project to its final closure, the chief said, “which brings me to why we are here today – to release our full final funding launch campaign of the new community centre/ fire hall. We are labeling this goal as achieving the cream – the final mile.”
Toole said that in the next year residents will see firefighters up front and centre with all of their planned fundraising events. “Please come out and support us like you always have in the past – and future,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Gary Marshall said the project has had its ups and downs. “But we are here today to officially announce and unveil our last mile fundraising campaign,” he said. “Why now you ask? The need for a new facility is now. We’ve found and purchased a suitable piece of land to build on. We have a strong committee of people, each with a different expertise, working on it. The firefighters themselves are able to devote time, well beyond their firefighting duties, to assist in this endeavour.”
He said there are various ways people can donate.
“This is a community endeavour,” Marshall said. “We need everyone’s help, big and small, to achieve the dream – the final mile.”
To explore the various donation options, go to www.discovermiddleton.ca/firehall.