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Fire training facility to be built on site near Kmart

Quotable

“We appreciate their offer of the land, but it’s a little bit of a disappointment that we spent two years working on the project on land that was offered. I’m sure (the board’s decision) had a lot to do with public pressure.”

— Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president

Quotable

"We appreciate their offer of the land, but it's a little bit of a disappointment that we spent two years working on the project on land that was offered. I'm sure (the board's decision) had a lot to do with public pressure.”

— Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president

Craig Rural Fire Protection District officials are in the process of developing plans to build a live fire training simulator on an alternate site near Kmart.

Dave Costa, Craig building inspector, said Friday he received a visit from Todd Ficken, of Niwot-based F&D International, LLC, to withdraw the fire department's application for a building permit on land near Colorado Northwestern Community College and The Memorial Hospital in Craig.

F&D International is an architectural and engineering firm and Ficken is serving as project manager for the training tower, which is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

"(The fire department's) engineer was in my office this morning expressing his disappointment that they didn't get the land transfer at the CNCC subdivision," Costa said Friday. "(Ficken) indicated to me that he will be submitting a new site plan specific to the land the (fire department) owns on Industrial Avenue on the backside of Kmart."

The decision to move locations was made following Thursday's CNCC Board meeting, when college officials were expected to vote on a land transfer resolution between CNCC and the fire district.

But, the issue never got to a vote.

"I've never had a situation where we didn't have a vote because of a lack of a second (to a motion)," CNCC Board Chairman Jim Loughran said. "I think it's dead, but I'm not sure. "There's always the potential to bring it up again, but it's dead. Right now, I would say it's not going to happen. It's in (the fire board's) hands. We're not going to contact them."

Byron Willems, fire board president, said Friday fire officials do not plan to approach CNCC about a land transfer for the live fire simulator again in the future.

"We appreciate their offer of the land, but it's a little bit of a disappointment that we spent two years working on the project on land that was offered," Willems said. "I'm sure (the board's decision) had a lot to do with public pressure.

"We're committed as a fire board to provide the best training for our firemen. We're moving forward, we're not looking back."

Fire officials had touted the construction of a live fire simulator on CNCC land as phase one of what would become a second fire station.

Willems said the fire board's long-term vision of building a second station is on hold for now.

"It's not ideal, but it will work," Willems said. "It's definitely not ideal for Station 2, not that I am advocating it is in our immediate future, but for our board the focus is the training center."

Willems said some CNCC Board members voiced an interest in discussing a future land transfer agreement for a second fire station in Craig because of the close proximity to the campus and hospital, but other college officials believe future talks are unlikely.

"I guess they could always approach the board about a fire station as opposed to a burn center," CNCC Craig Campus Vice President Gene Bilodeau said. "Based on what the board decided and discussed last night, I'm left with the impression that they are not interested in any development associated with the fire department."

In May, fire district board members approved the purchase of a fire training center kit from WHP Trainingtowers pending CNCC land transfer approval.

The board will discuss how it plans to proceed with its alternate site during its next regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. June 21 at the firehouse, Willems said.

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