A few Centerville residents again spoke about the town’s need to expand and renovate Fire Station No. 1. 

Centerville is again applying for a $500,000 state grant to make several improvements to the station, and had to conduct another public hearing before its June 13 council meeting.

State officials said the town’s previous application lost points compared to other communities because of few signs of support from residents. 

Chief Dennis Spears would like to double the training room to accommodate education for area first responders and provide restrooms/showers solely for female firefighters. An improved air system would reduce diesel fumes.

Town officials also favor an expansion, citing needs for a large gathering place that could accommodate residents during disasters (especially oxygen users). Only a few people can fit in the town hall. 

Councilors said the grant would help bring the station into compliance with needed safety upgrades without increasing residents’ monthly bills.

The fire station has had no major upgrades in about 40 years. Its air conditioning went out recently, leading to a $4,100 repair.

In other business, the council:

  • Voted to hire a Muncie company to answer after-hours urgent utility calls starting July 1. They’re starting with the lowest package (50 minutes per month) to assess the need.
  • Learned town utility workers have not discovered the source of a water leak. Approximately 70 gallons are leaking per minute, or about 100,800 gallons a day. (The number of gallons was incorrect in a June 7 WWN article). Residents with any information about the leak are encouraged to contact town hall at 765-855-5515.
  • Allowed Centerville United Methodist Church to close a portion of South Morton Avenue from 9-11 a.m. Aug. 27 for its bicentennial celebration. A circuit rider will arrive and preach at the steps.
  • Approved the two lowest bids ($1,000 and $2,000) to appraise a property the town is considering buying. Two bids are required.
  • Learned that the council’s previously approved purchase of portable power units for Archway Days has been completed and they should arrive before the August festival. The committee received permission to show “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” on July 22 in Maplewood Park. 
  • At its 7 p.m. June 28 work session, council will discuss a local business’ inquiry about sending mailers in utility bills. Currently, only materials from the town (such as the upcoming water quality report) and nonprofits can be included. Council seeks more information from town attorney Ed Martin.
  • *Learned that Slick plans to apply for a state Community Crossings road grant. Paving could cost about 25% more this year, he said. 
  • *Learned town workers had watched a street sweeper demonstration in preparation for a possible replacement of its 12-year-old equipment.
  • *Approved pursuing an Inflation Reduction Act grant toward the town’s electrical systems upgrade.
  • *Announced upcoming meetings, including a June 14 executive session to discuss personnel and a plan commission meeting at 7 p.m. June 22 in town hall. 
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A version of this article appeared in the June 21 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.