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Fire district board gives go-ahead for fire training facility

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By Sandy Barnes

Members of the Evergreen Fire Protection District board voted unanimously Tuesday night to move forward with the controversial fire training facility at Evergreen Fire Station 2.

Board President George Kling said the facility had been under discussion for 10 years, and that it is necessary for volunteer firefighter training.

Before reaching the decision, the board listened to two hours of testimony from residents, some of whom spoke in support of the project.

Dr. Valeri Leswing of Mountain Pediatrics said that after talking with Fire Chief Mike Weege, she felt that the facility would increase the safety of the community. Leswing also said that indoor training at the facility would keep the smoke contained during training sessions.

Other residents voiced vehement objections to the plan, which was delayed three months to allow a committee review.

Gina Coco, president of The Ridge at Hiwan Homeowner Association, called the training facility a “luxury” and said that moving forward with the project would create an open wound between the fire district and the community.

The fire board did agree to lower the height of the facility from 40 to 30 feet and to build a three-story structure instead of four stories, as originally planned.