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Buckley council buying land for new fire station

Buckley City Council members unanimously approved the purchase of a two-acre parcel of land with the intent of building a long-awaited station for the city fire department.

The action came during a special session the evening of June 30.

The land will be purchased from Grace Lutheran Church. The selling price was $189,000.

"This is certainly a substantial step in the process, because it is awfully hard to build a new fire station when you don't have any land to build it on," said longtime Fire Chief Alan Predmore.

Predmore, a driving force behind a new station, also said that the property, closing costs and impact fees would nearly deplete the building fund that has been accumulating during the past two decades.

Predmore hopes the city will receive one of the $5 million grants included in a stimulus package of $210 million recently established by the federal government and specifically earmarked for the new construction and remodeling of fire stations across the United States and its territories.

Predmore knows competition for the federal money will be tough.

"The federal government informed us right in the application paperwork, in no uncertain terms, that the application requests could be looming in the neighborhood of $30 billion," he said, adding that the city will receive news of its grant status in the fall at the very soonest.

"I feel like we've got a pretty good case, if for no other reason than we have lived with the constraints of this tiny and crowded facility for so long now," Predmore said.

The city had tried to land one of the available Housing and Urban Development grants in the late 1980s, but Buckley was not low enough on the income scale.

Another funding possibility is placing a bond measure before the voters. Predmore said that presents a double-edged sword: first is the realization that while the economy remains in a downturn; at the same time, however, interest rates and construction costs are at their lowest point in years.

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