Wellston Fire Department (WFD) Chief Ryan Pelletier told members of Wellston Council this week that work is underway for the foundation of the local fire academy's burn building, which is set to be delivered from Illinois on Monday, March 27.
During the Thursday, March 16 council meeting, Pelletier said the footers for the structure were set to be poured Friday, March 17. He further said crews from Illinois will be in town for approximately one week after the structure is delivered to assemble it.
An open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony is currently being planned for some time near the end of April, which happens to coincide with the retirement of current State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. Pelletier said Thursday that Flowers has requested to start the first fire at the site. He told council he will be announcing an official date for the ceremonies in the near future.
The burn building site has been funded with grant money, with the only out-of-pocket cost being for the foundation work, which totaled roughly $17,500. This money, according to Pelletier, came out of the WFD Fire Academy's budget.
As for the academy, Pelletier told council the site is "busier than he ever anticipated." He said classes are set to take place at the Station 2 site every day, with the exception of Tuesdays and Fridays, now through the end of the year, and that pace is only going to pick up, according to Pelletier. He said the career technical school in Scioto County recently contacted WFD officials and asked if they could utilize the burn building once it's in place for training, rather than making the jaunt to the State Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg. Pelletier said a scenario like that is why the burn building was sought in the first place.
Once the WFD obtained the burn building, Pelletier said he lobbied to become a satellite training site for the State Fire Academy, serving the southeastern part of the state.
This, he explained, would allow for more money to make its way into Wellston, with a percentage of that money going to the State Fire Marshal's office. This would be a sustainable revenue source for the fire academy, according to Pelletier, who said the funds could be used for the upkeep and future expansion of the burn building training site.
Once an agreement is signed with the State Fire Marshal's office, which Pelletier stated he believes is very likely, Wellston will be the first satellite site for the State Fire Academy. He said the ultimate goal is to have additional satellite sites in the southwest, northeast and nsorthwest parts of the state as well.
Pelletier also told council his department has reached out to the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College as well, in an effort to utilize the continuing education option, which would allow the Wellston Fire Academy to reach across state lines.
In all, Pelletier said the local fire academy is "moving in the right direction."
In other business
Council conducted the third and final reading of Ordinance 2017-04, which establishes a policy for indigent burials.
The third and final reading was given for Resolution 2017-05, which authorizes the mayor to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Village of Middleport for prisoner housing. The contract, which is effective through Dec. 31, 2017, states the Wellston Police Department shall pay a total of $60 per day for each person incarcerated in Middleport Jail.
A second reading was given for Resolution 2017-08, which authorizes the mayor to execute a contract for prisoner housing in the Washington County jail.
A first reading was conducted for Resolution 2017-09, which requests the appointment of Adam Massie as a new member of the Wellston Growth Fund, CDBG Revolving Loan Fund and Downtown Revitalization Loan Fund Committees. The legislation also recognizes the resignation of former member Roger Beatty as well.
A first reading was conducted for Resolution 2017-10 which authorizes the city's participation in the Ohio Department of Transportation's Winter Fill Program. This legislation pertains to the purchase of salt to be used on roadways during winter months.