• Last modified 854 days ago (April 19, 2017)


Auto House building being considered for Marion EMS

Staff writer

A new home for Marion ambulances and sleeping quarters for on-duty emergency medical technicians looks closer to reality.

County commissioners toured a building used as a towing and recovery business and spoke to the business owner about buying it for $175,000.

Mike Beneke researched available buildings and contacted owner Galen Unruh about the possibility of the county purchasing the building. Beneke told commissioners he believes the county needs to find such a location as quickly as possible.

“Personally, I will donate $500 to the purchase of this building if you decide to buy it,” Beneke said. “I’d be willing to donate toward the open house.”

The building, at 1242 Commercial Dr., has two bays, an office area, an upstairs break room, and a loft. It also has a fenced-in storage yard at the rear.

Marion mayor Todd Heitschmidt, city manager Roger Holter, and city zoning director Clayton Garnica sat in on the discussion.

Holter said that if the county purchases the building, a conditional use permit would be needed. If they lease the building, a conditional use permit would not be immediately needed but could be obtained later.

“We’ve had an ambulance building on our agenda for three or four months,” commission chair Randy Dallke said.

Commissioners took a tour of the building, looking at what changes would need to be made to accommodate the necessary items.

EMS director Ed Debesis said the advantage of having staff at the same location as the ambulances is that they can be headed to the scene within seconds. The advantage of better lodging is that EMS will be better able to recruit EMTs.

County counselor Susan Robson asked if the bay doors are large enough to permit entry of ambulances the county will one day purchase.

Unruh said the doors are 16 feet tall and 14 feet wide.

“We got my big wrecker in there with no problem,” he said.

Commissioners asked Robson to gather more information before a decision on purchasing will be made.

Last modified April 19, 2017