AP NEWS

Dedicated: Ludington Fire Station hosts open house

May 6, 2019

“It’s been a long time coming.”

With those words, Ludington Fire Chief Jerry Funk welcomed members of the community to the new Ludington Fire Station for an open house and dedication ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

The official opening of the station at 918 E. Tinkham Ave. was the culmination of months and months of effort, and both fire officials and visitors said they were thrilled with the outcome.

About 100 people attended the open house to show their support for the fire department and walk through the station.

The new fire station is a vast upgrade from the old station on Loomis Street, according to Funk.

“It’s just a very nice facility,” he said. “We were at the other place for 40 years, and this is a modern, up-to-date facility; it’s going to be here for another 60 years or more.”

Funk said the crew has been working out of the station since Feb. 12, and has made about 133 runs in that amount of time.

The firefighters themselves helped with much of the brick-and-mortar work and equipment installation at the station, donating more than 1,000 hours to the task, according to Funk.

Firefighter Derek Kowatch said that the crew members handled as much of the work as possible by themselves, to offset the cost of the building and fend off the additional expense of hiring a contractor.

“They put a lot of sweat equity into this place,” Kowatch said. “I can’t stress enough how much the guys did.”

The work has paid off, he said, and will continue to do so.

“Everybody in the county is really going to benefit from this space,” Kowatch said. “We’re really fortunate to have it. It’s a beautiful building the city has given us.”

The station boasts about 10,000 square feet of space; an apparatus bay; a washer and drier for turnout gear; a fully decked-out, modern kitchen and dining space adjacent to a training and conference room with Bluetooth capabilities; and a state-of-the-art projector and sound system.

The building also features offices, locker rooms and more.

After dozens of community members and supporters had toured the building, Funk addressed the crowd, thanking Ludington’s taxpayers and past and present city officials for making the new station possible.

Pastor Henrik Lidman of Prayer & Praise Assembly said a prayer at the dedication ceremony, commending the city’s firefighters for keeping residents safe.

“It’s humbling to stand here because of the guys who are standing behind me. They run toward danger while the rest of us run away from it,” Lidman said.

Former Mayor Kaye Ferguson Holmen, who was in office during the groundbreaking in June 2018, and whose name is engraved on a plaque at the building’s entrance, and current Mayor Steve Miller helped Funk conduct the ribbon-cutting at the ceremony’s conclusion.

“This is an amazing thing,” Holmen told the crowd, thanking the firefighters for their efforts and Funk for his 49 years of service with the department.

“It’s so cool,” she said. “A lot of effort went into this place, and it’s good to see so many people out here, too.”