Fundraising continues for new Luana fire station

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This design shows what the new Luana fire station will look like. Fundraising for the new fire station began almost two years ago, and has so far yielded $140,000, nearly halfway to the $300,000 goal. With just $10,000 more, construction can begin, at a site below the old co-op.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Luana’s volunteer firefighters have talked about building a new fire station for years. They were always sarcastic about it, though, noted fireman Matt Baade. But nearly two years ago, the idea finally took root.

“We thought, ‘If we’re going to be serious about it, we need to start raising money and go for it,’” he shared. “Whether it takes three years or 10 years, you have to start somewhere.”

So far, efforts have yielded $140,000, nearly halfway to the $300,000 goal.

With just $10,000 more, construction can begin, said Baade, who’s also chairman of the building committee.

The new fire station will be constructed below the old co-op, visible to those coming into town. Some of the land was donated, while the rest was purchased.

Although several factors play into the need for a new fire station, Baade said space is the biggest one.

“We’re really cramped in here,” he said of the current station at 212 Main St., in downtown Luana. “It would be nice to have a room for training, where we don’t have to move vehicles.”

To sit down for a meeting, the firemen currently have to squeeze a long table between two trucks.

Baade said the new fire station will be twice the size of the current building and feature a meeting room, with a small kitchen, as well as decent bathrooms.  

The space and kitchen will be helpful when the fire department hosts fundraisers, like its September pork loin dinner and March pancake breakfast.

“It will be nice having a kitchen where you can prepare food rather than cooking it at home, then having to bring it here,” Baade said.

Safety also plays a role in the need for a new fire station. The current station is 45 years old and beginning to show it’s age, said Baade. The concrete floor is starting to break up under the weight of the trucks and other equipment.

“And equipment isn’t getting any smaller,” he remarked.

Presently, he added, two trucks have to leave one door in the fire station, making it trickier and more time consuming to exit the building.

“With the new building,” Baade said, “there will be one door per vehicle.”

By reaching the $150,000 mark, and beginning construction, Baade said the firemen hope progress will spur on additional donations.

“We’ve had some good donations, but we’re still hoping for more,” he said.

At least several hundred people have donated to the effort, he estimated, in addition to support from local businesses. The Luana Community Club has also been supportive, with their fundraisers benefitting the project. At Luana Daze, the group allowed the firemen to sell food in order to raise money.

The fire department’s next fundraiser is the annual holiday raffle. By purchasing tickets, people will have a chance to win a set of four car tires, two half hogs, a quarter beef, a lap quilt, cash prizes, a choice of custom cooler cart and more. The drawing will be Dec. 4. 

Donations are welcome any time, however. People who are interested can contact a fireman or send donations to the Luana Fire Department, P.O. Box 134, Luana, IA 52156.

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