Saturday open house to start new era in Currie
By Per Peterson
The Currie Fire Department might not have had the best timing in the world, but their persistence has paid off in a big way.
This Saturday, the department will open the doors to the public to Currie’s new fire hall — an 80 foot-by-80 foot structure that dwarfs its existing hall, a former school building that somehow fits in six fire rigs.
The estimated cost of the new hall was $275,000 six years ago; the bid came back higher, so there was a gap to make up. Couple that with rising costs during the pandemic, and the process of building a new facility became even more daunting. The total cost of the new fire hall ended up at about $407,000.
“Last year after COVID, that’s when things really went up,” said fire fighter Joe Schreier. “We worked a long time to get to this point, and I’ve always had in my mind that we were going to get it done, and thankfully we did.”
“We discussed, ‘Do we do it or do we wait?’” Currie Fire Chief Luke Radke added. “We decided to do it. We knew (prices) were that much higher, but was it going to keep going up? Is it going to go down? We figured it’s not going to go down anytime soon.”
Fundraising for the new fire hall began in earnest in 2016, with groundbreaking last year.
“It’s never ending,” Radke said. “We bid the building, set a fundraising goal and got there in 2018. That’s when we put together some pretty hard numbers. And the next year, it was again higher because prices went up. We were always a little behind, so we got a loan put together through Nobles County and the USDA with Rural Development to bridge the gap. We fundraised up to a certain point, and we had the money for the loan, so the City said we could go ahead once we had all the funding lined up.”
Radke said the local community has been a huge supporter of the new fire hall, adding that many private donations helped fuel the CFD’s fundraising efforts. Also, the Sons of the American Legion donated all the kitchen appliances.
“There’s a lot of people that wanted to see this done,” he said. “A lot of people who were willing to donate to it. And we got a loan, so we’re going to need more of that. But to get this far … five years sounds like a long time, but it’s really not.”
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.