Breaking ground

Construction: Area officials, including (from left) commissioner Roger Elkins, project manager Scott Stephens, Rob Gustafson of architecture firm Hooker DeJong, Marion Village President Don Gilmore, commissioner Larry Emig, commissioner Ron Sikkema and commissioner Alan Tiedt. (Herald photo/Karin Armbruster)
Construction: Area officials, including (from left) commissioner Roger Elkins, project manager Scott Stephens, Rob Gustafson of architecture firm Hooker DeJong, Marion Village President Don Gilmore, commissioner Larry Emig, commissioner Ron Sikkema and commissioner Alan Tiedt. (Herald photo/Karin Armbruster)

Commissioners gather as construction for EMS base begins

MARION — Beginning stages of creating a new Osceola County Emergency Medical Services base took place on Aug. 27, as county commissioners, project officials and Marion representatives broke ground at the property, located at 300 Meadowview Lane in Marion. The base was approved at a July 2 meeting after a 4-3 vote by commissioners. The topic has been a hot issue for months between commissioners and residents from the northwest quadrant of Osceola County who believe the area is lacking coverage. The site in Marion was chosen because of call volume, distance to the nearest hospital, travel time and availability of first responders, according to Osceola County EMS Director, Jeremy Bebee. The new base will be 3,000 square feet, including a connected garage. Larry Emig, chair of the Osceola County Board of Commissioners, thanked guests for attending and said he is expecting the base to improve response times and the quality of service county residents receive. “It’s not just a building,” he said. “It’s also about service for our staff and community.” Payment for the project will include $300,000 from the EMS Fund and $136,600 from the Delinquent Tax Fund, to be repaid with a 1 percent interest rate. Construction is expected to begin next week and be completed in the early spring. Marion Village President Don Gilmore helped break ground and said although an ambulance has been at the fire station for 40 years, a permanent base will make things easier on the employees and help increase response times. “We’re very happy about it,” he added. “We’re looking forward to it.”