Local VFDs upgrading with bond revenue

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 6, 2004


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The State Bond Commission recently signed off on $1.3 million in bonds for the St. John the Baptist Parish Council to acquire fire fighting equipment, buildings and machinery for the Reserve and Garyville Volunteer Fire Departments, said State Treasurer John Kennedy.

Chief Glenn Bourg said the Reserve Volunteer Fire Department would be given $700,000 of the appropriated bond money, while Chief Faron Duhe said the Garyville Fire Department would receive $600,000.

Bourg said his department is planning to build a new fire station on a piece of property it is presently acquiring from the local American Legion.

“The large piece of property is located on Central Avenue across the street from Railroad Avenue. The property appraises well over $200,000, but the American Legion is selling it to the Reserve Volunteer Fire Department for $50,000,” said Bourg.

The American Legion meeting hall presently sits on the property. The hall will be torn down and the new fire station will be built in its place.

“The new station will house paid personnel as well as volunteers,” said Bourg.

“The American Legion can use the new fire station as a meeting hall to hold their annual meetings. The American Legion wanted to make sure the property stayed with the public. They wanted it to be used for the community of Reserve.”

According to Bourg, the money will be placed in the fire department’s 2005 budget. The department will publicize advertisement specifications in January and February 2005. Incoming construction bids will be reviewed in April and May 2005.

Bourg said a joint memorial for fire fighters and for American Legion members will be placed on the property.

The fire chief said he is hoping there will be enough money left over to purchase a pumper rescue unit. This fire truck is equipped with an emergency medical service and with rescue jaws. The unit could be used to assist with fires, EMS calls and wrecks.

Duhe said the Garyville Fire Department would use its money to complete a final addition on its central station at 418 Historic West Street.

The addition will house a meeting and training room, offices foradministration, dormitories, a kitchen, a bathroom and a storage room.

The architect for the project is John Campo with Campo Designs. The Destrehan firm designed the two-story addition. Plans were recently upgraded for the $475,000 project. Construction is scheduled for February 2005.

Duhe said the remaining $125,000 would be used to purchase office equipment and to construct a parking lot.

The State Bond Commission approved project funding for both of the fire stations at its Nov. 18 meeting.

“The Bond Commission acts as a loan officer for local governments, and they must come to us when they need to obtain financing for various projects,” said Kennedy. “We review applications from public entities very carefully to make sure that debt can be paid off in a timely manner and that taxpayers’ money is going toward worthwhile projects.”

A complete list of projects approved statewide is available at www.latreasury.com.