WUFT News

Micanopy’s Fire Department Needs More Space, And Thus More Money

By on October 15th, 2013
The Micanopy Fire Department Expansion Project is raising money to improve the living and working conditions of the full-time firefighters who serve the community.

Taryn Tacher/WUFT News

The Micanopy Fire Department Expansion Project is raising money to improve the living and working conditions of the full-time firefighters who serve the community.

Monica Fowler has owned Delectable Collectables, 112 NE Cholokka Blvd, for almost 33 years.

She’s the president of the Micanopy Area Chamber of Commerce, and she remembers when a woman’s water broke in the middle of her shop one day.

She called the fire department. Firefighters rushed to help.

“They’re there when you need them. They’re kind and considerate and they’re there to respond.” Fowler said. “But the firehouse is cramped. It’s important they have more space.”

The town built the Micanopy Fire Rescue Department in 1976 as a part-time volunteer fire department; it has since been converted to a full-time fire station. Full-time firefighters have accumulated more training than volunteers, and many of them are cross-trained as paramedics.

“Micanopy is so small,” Fowler said. “But for as small as we are, we have a substantial aging population, and they have special needs. We don’t have a police department or resident physician, so we rely on our firefighters.”

The Micanopy Fire Rescue Department services approximately 76 square miles, including areas east to Hawthorne and west toward Archer. Micanopy firefighters are often first to respond to accidents on U.S. Highway 441 and Interstate 75.

“The fire department provides a vital service to our community,” said Charles Kelley, Micanopy town administrator. “There are two firefighters on duty 24/7. They need more space for dormitories and offices, and for trucks.”

The fire station currently has space for two firefighters to sleep. After the expansion, there will be room for four.

Kelley said the expansion project budget has not been confirmed and the project is in the design phase. He said both will be complete in January. The next step will be scheduling the expansion.

Ginny Mance, Micanopy city commissioner and vice mayor, said supporting the fire department is not only the right thing to do for the people working there, but it’s also beneficial for the town.

To raise money for the Micanopy Fire Department Expansion Project, the town is hosting its fourth Family Fun in the Forest Night on Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Micanopy’s Native American Heritage Preserve, 600 SE Tuscawilla Road. This is the first year the event will span two nights.

Kelley said more people attend Family Fun in the Forest Night each year. He hopes to see at least 1,500 people at this year’s event.

According to the flyers, Family Fun in the Forest Night will feature a haunted hayride, a bounce house, a children’s costume contest, face painting, a concession stand and a bake sale. The baked goods will be pre-sliced and packaged, and donated by residents, merchants and members of neighboring communities.

According to Fowler, the Micanopy Area Chamber of Commerce made a donation to Family Fun in the Forest Night to offset the costs of putting on the event. All of the proceeds accumulated from the $5 admission fee and the bake sale will go toward the Micanopy Fire Department Expansion Project.

Mance provided a statement regarding the status of the expansion fund:

The town of Micanopy has reserves for this type of project. Our endeavor with this fundraiser and others like it, is to offset the use of the reserves fund. Presently the commission has approved the initial stage of the project; that being the conceptual design of the addition. Once received by the commission, the design will assist in clarification of the scope of the addition to our fire department.

“The better environment we provide them with, the better professional service they are able to provide us with,” she said.


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