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Training building planned behind Howard Fire Station No. 2

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – The construction of a public safety training building behind Howard Fire Station No. 2 at 4100 Shawano Ave. was approved Monday, Jan. 27, by the village board.

Ed Janke, Howard’s public safety director, said the facility where the fire department now trains in the village, the old pickle factory, will likely be taken down shortly.

Absent a facility in the village to train, Janke said the fire department would have to train at NWTC, for which the department doesn’t have funds.

“I was approached by our staff, and they felt we could develop a training facility much like several others in the state, at probably zero cost for the Village of Howard,” he said.

With donated labor and materials, and possibly some grant funding, Janke said the fire department could put it together without using village funds, with the construction of the primary building involving the use of shipping containers.

Janke said there would be room behind Fire Station No. 2 for a new training building to maneuver the trucks and also have the fire station nearby to use as a classroom.

“(The site) also provides a little bit of a buffer,” he said. “Like firearms training for law enforcement, sometimes that gets to be a little bit of a conflict with the neighbors, so there are no close neighbors here and (it’s) not likely anytime soon that there will be anybody close to this facility, so we will be able to monitor that to make sure it’s neighborhood-friendly.”

Once completed, Janke said the training building won’t look any different than any of the other metal buildings in the area.

Janke said he expects the training building could be put together for less than $20,000 with projected expenditures by the village being no more than $5,000, for which he would come back to the board to request if those funds are needed.

“We really need this (training building) to move forward, so we can maintain the type of fire department that presently exists,” he said.

Janke said the fire department would do what it can to make the training building “aesthetically pleasing.”

He said the training building is also being designed so it could be moved in the future.

Dissenting vote

Trustee Craig McAllister, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he received phone calls from people concerned about locating the training building behind Fire Station No. 2.

“We had a lot of concerns on the site,” McAllister said. “The west end of Howard is probably the fastest growing end of Howard that we have. Although there’s not a lot of residential areas right now right near Fire Station (No.) 2, the potential is there.”

McAllister said he favored having a training building for the fire department, but called for placing it in a different location which would be more remote.

“You’re going to develop a smoky, big old smoky environment when you guys are training,” he said. “And I don’t think this is the safest or most pertinent place.”

His motion to table action on locating the training building behind Fire Station No. 2, to have staff look into finding different locations, died for the lack of a second.

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