The town of Edgecomb unveiled a plaque Thursday, Oct. 5 dedicating its 5-year-old fire station to the town’s volunteer firefighters.
“This building is dedicated to all the volunteer firefighters who have served this department and their community since 1941,” the plaque reads.
The plaque bears the date of May 20, 2012, when the town dedicated the new station. The purpose of the ceremony Thursday was to unveil the plaque, which also honors the town officials and volunteers behind the planning of the station.
The effort to build a new fire station in Edgecomb started in 2002.
Edgecomb Fire Chief Roy Potter was passing around a photo of the old station during an open house before the ceremony.
The mid-1940s station was next door on Route 27. The building was cramped and lacked indoor plumbing, Potter said. A leaky roof and mold problems forced the town to condemn the second floor.
At the end, the entire building was closed to the public and used only for vehicle storage. Edgecomb voters unanimously approved $675,000 to build a new fire station at the annual town meeting in 2010.
“It’s the difference between night and day,” Potter said of the new station. The building has modern facilities, room for training, and space for department personnel to use as headquarters during major storms or other incidents.
The construction of the station “proves that a community can come together and accomplish some pretty incredible things,” Potter said.
Potter has been chief since September 2008. Before Potter was Barry Johnston, who was chief from 1995-2008.
Johnston was chief when the town acquired the land where it would build the new station. Over four years, the fire department considered several properties along Route 27.
From time to time, Johnston would check in with the owner of a lot next to the old station who wasn’t quite ready to sell. Finally the neighbor relented and struck a deal with the town.
The financing of the project was another challenge, according to Selectman Mike Smith, but town officials found a solution in the form of tax increment financing. Revenue from the TIF district on Davis Island covers the mortgage for the station.
The plaque lists the names of the department’s leaders during the land acquisition and construction: Potter and former Assistant Fire Chief Laurence “Larry” Omland, as well as Johnston. All three were present for the unveiling.
The plaque also recognizes the building committee for the station: Chair Jack Sarmanian, Ronald Carey, Suzanne Carlson, Jack French, James McQuaide, Omland, Potter, and Mike Smith.
The plaque lists the architect, John Hansen; the contractor, The Penobscot Co.; and the selectmen during the project: Jessica Chubbuck; the late John Johnson, a selectman until 2010; Sarmanian; and Stuart Smith.
“It is with a sense of accomplishment and pride that the town dedicates this new fire station for the betterment of the fire department and the community,” the plaque reads.
“The plaque is for many,” Mike Smith said in an email after the ceremony. “Those who recognized the need for making this (fire station) a reality. For those who gave time walking throughout town looking for the location. Those who sat and sat trying to accomplish the task of design, finance, and construction management of such a building. The townspeople who trusted the committee volunteers’ suggestion and supported the idea. To those (who) answer the bell at all hours, day and night, who serve as the fire family in Edgecomb past and present. It took a village. … We should be proud.”
Sarmanian, the current chair of the board of selectmen, was not able to attend the ceremony because he was in Las Vegas volunteering with the Red Cross in the aftermath of the mass shooting Oct. 1.