New Adams building emphasizes safety

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 10, 2003

ADAMS -- The most important thing about the new Adams Emergency Services Building couldn't be seen Sunday.

It was the room, the space between vehicles. "We never had that before," said Pete Schmitz, new Adams fire chief.

Dan May, who preceded Schmitz as the Adams Volunteer Fire Department's fire chief, agreed. "We had to drive a truck out of the old building to get into it," said Schmitz.

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Those days are gone forever. Now, the community has a new facility at the east edge of the community along Highway 56. It will be the first thing motorists notice about Adams when they arrive from the east and the last thing they will see when they leave town.

Built for $450,000, residents of Adams approved a $250,000 referendum a year ago to help fund the building.

Adams Township, which arguably was the impetus for the project, provided another $50,000.

Tom Mullenbach, an Adams Township Board member, helped the early fund-drive efforts when he won a community leadership award and donated the prize money to the township for the purpose of pursuing a township hall project.

Now, Adams Township will share the new building and Marshall, Lodi and Clayton townships also made sizeable financial donations as well as the city of Taopi.

The Adams Area Ambulance Service contributed $35,000 and the Adams Booster Club donated $2,000.

Private donations, including a generous $14,500 from the Blonigan Estate, completed the early fund-raising.

This spring, there will be more fund-raising to complete the parking lot, landscape the facility and erect signage.

Adams Mayor Leroy Swanson was among the dignitaries at a Sunday open house. "We are so happy today to see this project completed," Swanson said. "The township, the town, private donors, everybody pitched in and it turned out good for the community."

Adams Council Member Sarah Douty said the city's image can be boosted by such successful public improvement projects.

Jim Kiefer, city clerk and treasurer, agreed.

The pair said the new emergency services building is the biggest since the Adams Health Care Center expansions or the Southland Public Schools gymnasium and media center project.

Also, they said the city will realize the benefits of the old fire and ambulance services headquarters buildings by turning them over to the Adams Police Department and city maintenance department.

David Lagerstadt, director of the Adams Area Ambulance Service, said the crew's two vehicles and equipment also realize the benefits of a expanded facility for training and other purposes.

The Ambulance Service’s 25 volunteers pride themselves on covering

an extensive service area.

They have sought to make the service more responsive with the addition of defibrillator equipment, which has recently been upgraded a second time.

May, a 28-year veteran firefighter and chief remembers full well the days of "tight squeezes" in the old fire station.

Schmitz, a 20-year veteran himself, also knows how the new facility will allow the volunteers to offers enhanced firefighting services.

Also on hand at Sunday's open house was Gilbert "Gib" Fasbender, a retired long-time firefighter and fire chief for Adams.

"She's a beauty, ain't she?" said Fasbender. "This is as good as it gets."

That's what everybody says about the new Adams Emergency Services Building.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at