Wednesday, January 27, 2021
A Gerke excavator knocked down the old Degenhardt Implement parts store on Main Street in Norwalk last month. The lot will be the new home of the Norwalk Fire District’s fire station. Herald photo by Pat Mulvaney

New Norwalk fire station in the works

A demolition crew cleared the way last month for a new Norwalk fire station, but the plans and funding are still a ways off.

Norwalk Fire Chief Jim Stoikes said the project is in its very early planning stages and the Norwalk Area Fire District Board has yet to approve it.

“I’m sure it’s going to happen but it won’t be next summer – possible the following summer,” he said.

The Village of Norwalk acquired the property from Monroe County in 2019 for $1 and  paperwork fees. It turned it over to the Norwalk Area Fire District with the requirement that the site eventually become the future home to the Norwalk fire station.

The county took possession of the building and lot through foreclosure. The building was the former parts store and shop for Degenhardt Implement, now St. Joseph Equipment.

The building went through a few hands after Degenhardt sold it. It was most recently a Mexican Restaurant and store.

The Village of Norwalk acquired the building from Monroe County in 2019 and sold it to the fire district for $181 to cover expenses.  The current fire station is located one block to the west and is shared with the Norwalk village offices.

Stoikes said plans are being drawn up for an 80-by-90 foot building that would have drive-through bays accessing Main Street and the alley. The fire department has seven equipment units, including a brush truck, First Responders truck, two tankers, two pumpers and an equipment truck with a utility terrain vehicle and trailer.

The fire district, which covers Norwalk, the Town of Ridgeville and parts of the towns of Sheldon and Wells, has been raising funds for the new structure but Stoikes believes $100,000 is still needed to complete it.

He said some money was freed up when the department finished paying of the pumper it purchased in 2015, but the fire district is looking at grants and loans available through the USDA.

And donations are certainly welcomed. “If there’s anyone out there who wants to make a donation, we’re definitely in need of it,” he said.

That applies to volunteer firefighters, too. The department currently has 19 firefighters but “we’re always looking for more.”

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