(05/08/2002)
d A public meeting was held during a Calhoun Commission meeting Monday evening regarding the possible construction of a new EMS, 911 and OES building.

Delegate Bill Stemple said he has obtained $90,000 to construct the complex, which was originally suggested to be located behind Calhoun Middle/High School near the new school bus garage.

Commission President Larry McCallister told those attending, several people had called opposing that location because of safety factors, emergency vehicles running through school property. Superintendent of Schools Ron Blankenship spoke in favor of that location, indicting he felt it would not create problems.

Delegate Stemple said he was open-minded about the location, stating "This is why we are having the hearing."

The current EMS/911 building at Mount Zion does not meet fire code and the building is in disrepair, said Stemple, who is also the local Director of the Office of Emergency Services.

Other locations suggested, the Calhoun County Park, the mouth of Riffle Run or adjacent the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department. If EMS would move north of their current location, the sub-station would likely remain in Minnora.

Also attending the meeting was 911 Director Barry Pitts, who said he was open to suggestions. Calhoun EMS Director Randy Burgess was unable to attend the meeting, with Roger Jarvis of the Calhoun County Park Board representing that group and answering questions.

The commissioners suggested the three principal parties, Calhoun EMS, 911 and OES have a meeting and return next month with a recommendation for a site. Commissioner David Barr said he would like to have a drawing and more definite idea about the actual building, including the costs.

Roane County 911 and OES Director Rob Miller, who is also Chief of the Spencer-Roane Volunteer Fire Department, lent assistance to the commission regarding problems and solutions related to E-911 addressing. Calhoun has been moving toward implementing an approved county-wide addressing system.

Miller said some people in Roane County had a problem over being issued a new address. "It certainly is part of the process," he said. He shared with the commission the "vast amount of work" it took to get Roane's addressing up and running.

Local 911 Director Barry Pitts has been "dutifully assisted" by several volunteers, with the Commission being at odds at various times over the performance of McKenzie Engineering, whose contract called for completion of addressing and mapping. McKenzie claims he is measuring up to his contractual agreement.

Roane's Rob Miller, who read the contract with McKenzie, said it appeared he should have been more responsible.

Commissioner Weaver said he has difficulty understanding the process, since McKenzie did not complete the time lines outlined in his contract about two years ago.

The postal service has been working on addressing for the Grantsville area, and Pitts said much of that part of the project is near completion. DNR officer Tom Fox, who is familiar with every inch of the county, has assisted with mapping.

"We are moving it ahead," concluded Pitts.


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