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Groundbreaking held for $1.9 million ambulance headquarters

(6/15) Several dozen local and county officials and fire and ambulance personnel attended the June 3 groundbreaking ceremony for the new Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company building to be built on Creamery Road.

Speaking on behalf of EVAC were President Joseph Pelkey and Chief Rick Sharer. Town commissioners attending were board President Christopher V. Staiger and commissioners Joyce A. Rosensteel and Glenn Blanchard.

Included among the speakers were county commissioner Michael L. Cady, who presented the ambulance company with a certificate of congratulations, signed by all of the county commissioners. Among the attendees were also county commissioner John R. Lovell Jr. and Walter F. Murray, director of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Division.

Two-year effort yields results

In presenting the certificate, Cady described the volunteer services as "the heart and soul of every community." Staiger said that the ambulance company has given a lot back to the community "beyond that you give to lifesaving emergencies."

Sharer defined the groundbreaking as "another milestone in our history," and described the theme of the event as "progress and expansion."

The proposed 25,895 square foot, two-story EVAC structure will be located on a 4.01-acre tract on Creamery Road, purchased in 2004 for $130,000 from Sheridan "Dan" and Greg Reaver of Emmitsburg Glass Co. Pelkey previously told The Dispatch the nearly $2 million price tag does not include the cost of the land.

The fate of the present ambulance headquarters on county land on South Seton remains uncertain. Under the terms of the lease between EVAC and the county, the building, which was constructed by the ambulance company, would become county property.

The county is presently reviewing a request from EVAC to permit the company to sell the building to a farmer or business that would then remove it. EVAC would like to use that money as partial payment on the new building.

The ambulance company hopes the new building will be completed by early 2007.

Planned structure will have multiple uses

According to plans filed with the town, the building's first floor will be 70 feet by 211 feet; while the second floor will be 60 feet by 70 feet. The second floor will be devoted to housing career and volunteer ambulance personnel; and the first floor will include the ambulance bay and a social hall, space for bingo and other fundraising activities, complete with kitchen facilities and bathrooms to serve special events. The building will also serve be used for emergency disaster relief.

Fees for ambulance services, from social hall rentals, and from ambulance-held events, will continue to enhance emergency operations, and will help the company pay for the building.

In order to finance the new building, the ambulance company must take out a $1.9 million loan. The annual payback on the loan, based on non-profit status, would be $112,000, according to Pelkey.

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