The City of Quinter’s volunteer fire department moved into a new four-bay fire station in late November, thanks to a collaborative effort between the city, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Midwest Energy.
The USDA provided $194,800 to the project through a Rural Economic Development Grant to Midwest Energy, and Midwest Energy then matched an additional $38,960. The station was built by local contractor Quinter Manufacturing and Construction, and the City of Quinter created General Obligation Bonds that will be used to pay Midwest Energy the total $233,760 back over nine years. Midwest Energy will retain those funds in a Revolving Loan Fund, which will re-loan the funds to future projects.
“This was truly needed,” said Quinter volunteer firefighter Doug Kuntz. “Before, our trucks were in a two-stall garage downtown. If you needed the truck in the back, it took several minutes to move vehicles and equipment out of the way to get it out.”
The new fire station was designed specifically to house firefighting equipment, with oversize bay doors for fire apparatuses, areas for performing equipment maintenance and training, and drying hoses. The department serves a city of around 1,000 residents plus the surrounding area. Over the last year, the department responded to more than 120 grass and structural fires, and other calls for assistance.
Midwest Energy started the grant program in 2008, and has completed two other projects. In 2009, the City of WaKeeney purchased a new fire truck, and the City of Colby completed a new fire station that same year. The program supports Midwest Energy’s mission of fostering growth in its service territory, as it allows cities to make critical services and infrastructure improvements through interest-free loans, without having to spend money from general funds.