County lends land for training

Marion County Training Officers Association now has a training ground for countywide training.

Chris Killough, Mike Regnier, and Todd Helmer, three of the members of the association, asked Marion County Commission for permission Monday to use county property at 160th and Old Mill, a former mixing strip.

Helmer explained the association has been raising money through fund-raisers and wasn't asking the county for money, just use of ground.

"It's a good thing for all of us," vice chairman Bob Hein said. "We're all working together."

The area would be available for EMS crews to practice using Jaws of Life and firefighters to practice extinguishing fires.

A fence with gates will be added. A sign will be posted to deter trespassing. Equipment will not be stored there but the ground will be used for various exercises.

Helmer commented that the county property was centrally located.

Association members also presented a timeline for goals associated with the group and the county property. The commission also agreed that county crews could assist to meet some of their goals.

The goals were:

— 2007-08: Ground worked and leveled (to be assisted by county road and bridge department), weeds sprayed (to be assisted by county noxious weed department), gravel for parking/training area, structures for search and rescue training, SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) training course, and automotive training.

— 2009-10: Water supply established by drilling a well, installation of a buried tank (30,000-40,000 gallons), electricity, and an all-weather road.

— 2012-15: A countywide emergency meeting facility, complete fencing project, and a training tower.