By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LIBERTY TWP. - This fast-growing Butler County community's third fire station broke ground Monday along Ohio 747 between the Michael A. Fox Highway and Princeton Road.
Construction on the 11,834-square-foot facility that also will serve as the fire department's new headquarters should begin sometime over the next several weeks, Fire Chief Paul Stumpf said.
The $2.5 million brick and block building will be complete by next fall.
As this township undergoes tremendous growth, a fire station in the southwest portion has been a longtime goal, Stumpf said Monday.
He anticipates the fire department's insurance rating and response times to improve once the third station opens. "It will provide better service for that area of the township," Stumpf said. "To the further corners, we are averaging around six to seven minutes on response times. This should drop them to three or four minutes hopefully."
Calls for fire and rescue services steadily are rising as the township booms. Liberty's population shot up 147 percent over the last decade and now stands at 25,000.
In the 1990s, the fire department's calls increased by about 25 percent annually but now are leveling off, Stumpf said.
So far this year, the fire department has responded to 864 calls for service. In the same time period last year, the department answered 792 calls and responded to a total of 1,461 in all of 2002.
By comparison, the department handled 1,416 calls in 2001, more than double the 700 runs recorded in 1991.
The township's fire headquarters now is at the Yankee Road firehouse. The township's second fire house is on Ohio 747, north of Millikin Roads.
To pay for the latest fire station, township officials are pulling $500,000 out of the fire department fund, which is supported by a replacement 3-mill fire levy voters approved last fall, Administrator Barry Tiffany said.
Officials are borrowing the rest of the money for the project, Tiffany added.
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