In the coming weeks, people living in the Wheaton Fire District will receive a survey that they are being asked to fill out and send back to the city.
The official survey is being conducted by the Wheaton Fire Department to determine if the organization is eligible to apply for a Missouri Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). In order to be considered for the grant, 80 percent of the surveys must be returned.
"We need a lot of cooperation from the people living in our district," said Wheaton Fire Chief Bob Lombard.
Information provided through the survey will be handled in a confidential manner and names are not part of the survey questions. The information will only be used to determine eligibility for the CDBG grant.
If the Wheaton Fire Department is awarded a grant, the funds would be used to build a new modern central fire station in Wheaton. The current fire station is not adequate for storage of equipment or for training firefighters and first responders.
According to Lombard, the current fire station houses six units, leaving just enough room for firefighters to walk between them. Plans for a new fire station call for construction of a 9,600-square-foot structure with room for eight trucks as well as an office, meeting room, kitchenette and dual bathrooms. The building would be constructed at the old rodeo grounds, which the city owns.
"The city has offered us the land," said Lombard.
If the district receives the CDBG grant, it will be required to pay prevailing wage and construction costs could range from $400,000 to $500,000 for the new fire station.
Without the grant, the district would not have funds to pursue the project, Lombard said. The fire department operates with support from the city and membership dues, which total about $18,000 annually.
"As quick as we can get the surveys returned, we can proceed with the grant," said Lombard.
For more information about the survey, contact Wheaton City Hall at 417-652-3314.