Former magistrate wants to set the record straight

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By The Staff

I would like to set the record straight regarding the recent controversial letters to the Editor concerning the Eminence Fire Department building a new firehouse.

Back in January I contacted Congressman Geoff Davis’s office concerning any possibility of any USDA Rural Development First Responder/Community Facilities Grants being available. I was told by, Tami Wilson, in Congressman Davis’s office that she did not believe the Eminence Fire Department was eligible for a grant under this funding, but she would plan to investigate.

I asked Fire Commissioner Danny Meadows and Fire Chief Gary Lucas if this was something we might want to consider working on for the future of Eminence. The reason we asked for a grant was because the current location of the Eminence firehouse is in the middle of a very busy intersection, and with the new Family Dollar Store nearby the location had become an even more dangerous high traffic area. There had previously been grant funds appropriated for new firehouses for Campbellsburg and Lake Jericho. We were just looking at the possibility of trying to get similar grant funds, like Lake Jericho and Campbellsburg, for a safer location for the Eminence Fire Department.

Tami Wilson from Congressman Davis’s office came to a meeting at the Eminence Firehouse to explain that, at that time, there was no funding available for building a new firehouse. She gave us the Federal Grant forms, and suggested that we complete the forms for Congressman Davis’s 2009 funding records. 2008 was a budget year for Kentucky and she also suggested we contact the state representative and state senator for the Eminence area. We sent letters to these people, and asked if any funding became available would they please consider keeping the Eminence Fire Department on their grant appropriations list.

Again we were told that there was no funding available, and that federal or state funds would probably not become available anytime soon.

The City of Eminence was not asked to put up any tax money for the possibility of a new Firehouse. They were willing to use the city owned property, across from the old Brunswick factory, as their portion of the Federal or State Funding match. “There were no monies to be taken from Eminence City tax funds.”

There was no imminent building of a firehouse for the City of Eminence, or waste of tax payer’s dollars. To make it sound like a firehouse was going to be built and waste tax dollars was a total misrepresentation of what was actually happening. This was only in the preliminary stages of discussion, and application. To my knowledge, as of this time, we still have no funding, or have heard a reply regarding the possibility of any future building of a new firehouse.

I personally feel that if sometime in the future these Federal or state grant funds would become available it would be a great opportunity for all of us to have a new firehouse.

It has become a shame that the Eminence volunteer firemen and the department have been put in the middle of a controversy that never should have been started. The job they do for all of us should be complimented instead of being used as a political tool. Whether it is about washing machines or a new firehouse these dedicated Eminence fire department volunteers deserve our thanks and respect. They do not deserve to be bounced around as some political ball by any candidate. We should consider ourselves lucky that these volunteers are there when we need them, and that we can all work together to make sure they know how much we appreciate what they do.


Wayne Gunnell