Governor Walz pushes for Dilworth to get a new fire station

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:41 PM CST
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DILWORTH, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Dilworth could be getting a new fire station. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is pushing hard to include the fire department in his upcoming bonding proposal.

“Since 1982 our fire department has simply made do,” said Dilworth Mayor Chad Olson, “We owe it to everybody to do better.”

Bringing the Dilworth fire station into the 21st century was the goal behind the governor’s visit to the small town. A part of his bonding proposal is to use state dollars to invest in communities throughout Minnesota. Dilworth was a worthwhile stop because of the danger the cramped station imposes on the 30 volunteer firefighters.

“Firefighters are put in danger here in their own facility in their own house where they’re supposed to be safe,” said Fire Chief Mark Empting.

The system that fills their air tanks sits in the same area as the fire engines.

“We can’t ask them to fill their bottles for oxygen in a situation that’s not as safe as it needs to be,” said Gov. Walz.

The proposed project: tearing down the station and building from the ground up, costing an estimated $6.5 million. The project already has $2.3 million in local funding and $975,000 in federal funding. The firefighters are waiting for the state to approve $3.2 million in funds.

“A new fire hall will let us serve our community that much better,” said Asst. Fire Chief Scott Payne.

He said he’s optimistic the state will come through, “...but you never know with politics,” said Payne.

The bonding proposal to approve the Dilworth project is set for the 2022 legislative session. If approved, the fire station could break ground by 2024.

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