The new Ninilchik Emergency Services facility is open and active, one year after the groundbreaking. The building was completed in June, and was unveiled to the public during an open house August 9.
Ninilchik Emergency Services, which is a local non-profit, set to designing and erecting a facility for housing their staff of 19 volunteer responders and four emergency vehicles four years ago, said NES board member Steve Vanek. The single-level, four-bay building now has locker storage, showers, bathrooms, adequate equipment space and a common room for volunteers on shift, he said.
Fire chief Mike Chilhuly, EMT level 1-3 medics and emergency trauma tech first responders make up the response team utilizing the facility with two pumper trucks, a four-wheeler and ambulance in their response arsenal.
“The four-wheeler is necessary for this area,” Vanek said. “The beach is right here, and we have so many clam diggers.”
NES received a $2.5 million grant from the state, which was required to complete the project, Vanek said. House Speaker Mike Chenault Nikiski-R, was a major force behind receiving that money, he said.
“It’s amazing that the state will do that,” Vanek said.
Soldotna-based G&S Construction, Inc. began construction last summer, Vanek said. The state gave the NES the option to extend the project for up to four years as stipulated by the grant he said.
In the past residents have been presented with the option to vote for establishing a fire response service area in Ninilchik, which would have allowed for the facility to request Kenai Peninsula Borough funding, but it was voted down, Vanek said.
The organization has bi-annual fundraisers in the spring and the American Legion Post 18 has a fall fundraiser that brings in up to $10,000 in donations that cover the maintenance costs for equipment and building repairs, he said.
Kelly Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.