Birdseye back in hunt for grant


BIRDSEYE — The Birdseye Volunteer Fire Department’s quest for a grant to fund a new fire station is continuing after a recent setback.

The community recently learned that an application sent in to a competitive grant program this summer was not funded.

“Unfortunately,” Clerk-Treasurer Brittany Schepers explained, “there was a station up north who had an in-house fire and lost everything. Most of the [available grant] money went to that department, which is totally understandable.”

New grant proposals are due Oct. 4, which means another public hearing later this month. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at the current fire station at 9 W. First St.

Birdseye’s firefighters are asking the public “to come together and show our support for a new fire station” because, as Schepers explains, “our previous public hearings for the grant do not transfer over to this round, so we have to hold another one.”

The community’s application will seek a $500,000 construction grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Correspondence from OCRA after the last round asked the community to understand “this action does not at all diminish the value of your work. We received requests that exceeded our available funds.”

Birdseye’s existing fire station dates to the 1960s, is situated alongside a railroad track and is too shallow and short for the modern trucks it houses.

Universal Design Associates, Ferdinand, has created plans for a new, $719,000 station. The 5,150-square-foot pre-engineered steel building — it would have a stone veneer at its base — would feature four large bays with ample space for truck servicing. It would be built on a large, town-owned lot south of West Third Street, across from Jake’s Auto Parts & Service.

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