Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose addressed council regarding converting the Woodland Hills Fire Station to accommodate quarters for the ambulance service.
Rose said, "Over the last 30 years, I have had many occasions where someone has died in my arms and I wished I were a doctor, but the next best thing is an ambulance."
Rose explained to the council that the city will already be spending the money completing the still unfinished Woodland Hills Fire Station.
The station, located near city hall in Hardy ,was supposed to have been completed during a prior administration and grants obtained by the city, at that time, were not enough to fully complete the station, which included plans for sleeping quarters.
After Nina Thornton became mayor, the city obtained an additional grant to complete the station.
Rose explained the only additional cost to the city would be for extra utilities, including electricity and water. He said the savings in first responder calls might offset these costs. The city will be already completing the station and it will be ready for the future when new laws may dictate that each volunteer fire department have a full time fireman. He also explained the volunteer firefighters with the department have indicated they would be willing to volunteer their time to assist the certified carpenter in the renovation. He said the plan for the ambulance crew is a three to five year plan, one which may change in the event a hospital or emergency room comes to the area.
Rose explained he was not asking council for money for the project. If there was an increased need, the fire department would be willing to do fundraisers. Rose sought approval to retrofit the building to accommodate sleeping quarters for the ambulance crew.
Grace Richeson and Jeff Graefe, with Spring River Paramedic Ambulance Service, addressed council regarding the possible move to the Hardy station. She explained the temperature controlled environment required for medications which are housed on the ambulance. Rose indicated the temperatures were very similar in nature to the needs of a fire department so there would be little need to change any of the heating or cooling. Richeson said the service would do whatever it could to help the community and looked forward to serving the community in the Hardy area.
Council then voted unanimously to include plans for the sleeping quarters in the fire department. Richeson explained the area needed to include two separate sleeping quarters and a day room area for the crew to utilize during down time, as well as a kitchen type area for food storage and preparation. These areas will be included in the plans.
Council agreed to move forward with the plan in a timely fashion and Richeson said she would take the decision to her board for its approval.
In other business, the Hardy Camper Park's needs were discussed and many options were considered in order to get the facility up to standards to accommodate visitors.
The City of Hardy purchased the camper park for $100,000 and then leased it for ten years at $10,000 a year to pay it off. Floods have wreaked major havoc on the electric in the park and many of the sites are not up to code.
Public Works supervisor Billy Gilbreath addressed council with several options, all of which are in the planning phases regarding the park. Gilbreath consulted with Jim Frazier about upgrades for the electric system to accommodate larger campers and recreational vehicles.
One of the options included the city borrowing the money, making all the needed repairs and leasing the park out to pay the loan. Another option was simply to update the system. Also discussed was the city of Hardy repairing the system and operating the park like a city park, including hiring employees to oversee the day to day operations, keeping it open year round but taking reservations during the slow season to save on labor costs. Yet another possible solution discussed by council included closing down part of the park and making primitive tent sites. Although nothing was voted on, there was a lot of discussion over which avenue the city would explore in regard to the much needed updates to the park.
It was agreed that the city needed to act in one way or another to repair the park and generate additional revenues as well as tourism help to the area.
An electrical engineer will report back to Gilbreath with an approximate cost of the upgrades in regard to electricity to the park.
According to the plans, if council decides to upgrade the electric system, there will be 72 camping spots which will be able to accommodate any type of motor home or camper, as well as electric sites for tent campers.