Fire department seeks grant

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Drakes Branch Volunteer Fire Department is set to hold a public hearing Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. to hear public comment regarding their intent to apply for grant funding.

According to a public notice, the “Drakes Branch Volunteer Fire Dept. hereby provides notice that it intends to file an application for grant funding with USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), Rural Development for assistance in fire equipment (supply and preconnect fire hose and turnout gear).”

The notice said anyone who was requesting information on the project or would like to offer comments concerning the matter should attend the meeting.

The grant will fall under the community facilities programs, which could include projects such as fire/rescue stations, village/town halls, health care clinics, hospitals, adult/ child care centers, assisted living, rehab centers, public buildings, schools, libraries and more, according to the USDA.

“Essential community infrastructure is key in ensuring that rural areas enjoy the same basic quality of life and services enjoyed by those in urban areas,” said the UDSA.

Drakes Branch Fire Chief Kenny Tharpe said while some of the gear was damaged during recent flooding, it was covered by insurance. However, more supplies are still needed.

Currently, the Department is also seeking funding to construct a new fire station and joint municipal building.

The current facilities, which house the fire station and municipal offices, is susceptible to flooding.

A June Social Media post from the Fire Department said, “Because of the close proximity of a creak and leaking storm building, our structure has been compromised … working closely with the town and other government officials, we have plans to build a new building out of the flood zone across the street away from the water issues.”

A flood study was recently conducted by the town’s consultant, A. Morton Thomas and Associates, who presented the goals and findings of the study at an Oct. 17 public meeting.

Tharpre previously said, “the cement floors are sinking, and the walls are cracking.”

He also previously noted that the building would not sustain over time.

The public hearing concerning fire equipment assistance will be held at the Drakes Branch Fire Station/ Municipal Building.