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Talks over EMS building sought

Staff writer

A year after beginning negotiations over the location of a Hillsboro ambulance station, the debate remains ongoing.

The subject was discussed Tuesday in both county and city meetings, and neither side is ready to agree.

Emergency medical services director Travis Parmley a year ago proposed buying a Hillsboro building and using it as an ambulance station.

Hillsboro responded with an offer to provide a building shared with its police and fire departments as an emergency services center.

Discussion has taken many turns through the year since it began.

Hillsboro city administrator Matt Stiles told council members Tuesday that a week ago Parmley proposed buying the former Dollar General store at Hillsboro.

The location of the building Parmley proposed to buy was not discussed during open session of last week’s county commission meeting.

Hillsboro made a counter-offer to commissioners this week.

“What we proposed to them, and what they discussed at the commission, was that we sell the land to them for $1,” Stiles said.

Hillsboro offered to do the site work as well as provide curb cuts and pavement.

Commissioner Randy Dallke told mayor Lou Thurston that he’s worried about what to do with the building if it did not work out for the county.

“That just gives us options and some flexibility,” Thurston said during commission meeting. “Obviously we’re not asking to buy it back for a buck or something — that would be fair market value.”

Commissioners consulted Parmley during Tuesday’s meeting and asked what size of building would be needed and what it might cost to build it.

He asked Parmley to report back in two weeks.

“I certainly have nothing against a new building,” Parmley said. “We presented some options, and we’re looking at options. If we’re talking about two weeks, I don’t know if I can get it that soon.”

“What we’ll do is continue working with EMS director Travis Parmley to determine what they need,” Stiles said.

Thurston told council members that some people might want to ask why the city would want to do this.

“That’s because we want the right location,” Thurston said. “That is the most efficient location to operate that facility. It’s also the safest for access to US-56.”

He added that having all emergency services together at one location is a benefit in helping draw people to Hillsboro.

“It’s also the main approach into our city, and the message we want to send to people who are looking into our city is that we are investing in that kind of infrastructure,” Thurston said.

The city also wants to keep the former Dollar General building in use for retail business.

Council members voted to continue negotiations with the county.

Last modified Jan. 21, 2021

 

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