County buys site for 911 dispatch

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County commissioners purchased the former Heartland Electric Co-op building, 210 N. State, for $185,000 during a brief special session this morning.
They intend to refit the structure to house the 911 Emergency Services dispatch center, as well as the county’s Emergency Operations Center and ambulances.
The purchase, from the Steve Tedefco Living Trust, ends a many-months effort by county commissioners to find a permanent home for the county ambulance service and, more recently, to relocate 911 dispatch from its position as an adjunct of the Iola Police Department.
The 911 change was unanimously proposed by the service’s advisory board, including chiefs of police from throughout the county.
“I feel good with what we’ve done,” said Gary McIntosh, a county commissioner. “It’s taken a while but I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Now, the work starts, Commission Chairman Dick Works said.
It also ends twice-considered thoughts of building an ambulance station in Gas, initially a year ago in comprehensive fashion with reception of a $330,000 Community Development Block Grant and more recently with plans for a lesser building with a budget of $200,000.
Commissioners said they had no immediate plans for the Gas site, which they purchased last year for $75,000 in anticipation of building an ambulance station.
To accommodate the move of the 911 dispatch center, an advisory board made up of Sheriff Tom Williams, chiefs of police from Iola, Humboldt and Moran, county ambulance director Jason Nelson and a representative of the county’s fire departments will meet with County Counselor Alan Weber. Their mission will be to filter ideas and then report to county commissioners, who will have the final say.
Pam Beasley, county Emergency Management director, will prepare applications for grant money from Kansas Homeland Security to help remodel the building.