The Hope community can breathe a sigh of relief because the town’s volunteer firefighters are finally in their new home.
Hope Volunteer Fire Department’s roughly two dozen volunteers and eight cadets have settled in at 103 Aiken St., east of the old downtown station. The new, 9,642-square-foot station is nearly double the size of the previous building, and includes a training area, full kitchen, four bathrooms and showers.
The process took much longer than expected, more than four years since breaking ground. Problems that contributed to the delay have been well documented:
- Cost overruns
- Additional work that may or may not have been authorized, which contributed to a lawsuit by the contractor
- Tension between the Town of Hope and the fire department over transparency over the private group’s finances
With those struggles behind them, the Hope department instituted a pay-as-you-go approach to completing the facility and received widespread support from members of the community. Contractors gave of their time, or materials for free or at discounted cost, and fellow fire departments across Bartholomew County helped the Hope department raise money to finish the job.
It may not have been a smooth process, but lessons were learned and different approaches were applied as the station project was completed.
Now a new era of the Hope Volunteer Fire Department begins, which is good news for the town’s 2,100 residents and nearby areas served by firefighters who feel called to help their community.
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