ENTERPRISE – After years of applying for grants to no avail, Enterprise City is finally going to receive funding needed to build its first firehouse, the Lynn K. Bryson Fire Station, thanks to the fortitude and determination of a community that refused to take no for answer.
A longtime need
Though the Enterprise Fire Department is comprised of one paid employee, Fire Chief Brenden Moody, and about 18 volunteer firefighters, the department’s territory covers more than 400 square miles of range – much of it wide open.
Currently, there is no actual building to house the vast majority of the Fire Department’s equipment, and what little can be stored indoors resides in a shared space with the emergency medical services in the area. Everything else is stored at an outdoor site, where the weathering sustained by the equipment could potentially cause functionality problems in the future.
The majority of fires fought by the Enterprise volunteers are environmental fires, like brush or lightning fires, Moody said.
“There is the occasional structure fire,” he said, “but pretty much whenever there is lightning, we go out.”
Almost all the volunteer firefighters are Level 2 certified, and many are cross-trained as EMS responders, as well, Moody said. Sharing space with EMS made sense at first, he said; but as the department has continued to grow, sharing space has become increasingly difficult.
Legacy in a name
Construction of the Lynn K. Bryson Fire Station is scheduled to begin this month, and it is hoped the facility will be completed sometime in early fall, City Administrator Adam Bowler said. The targeted finish date will fall sometime around Sept. 11.
“There has been a lot of community help, and we would love to have a Sept. 11th dedication for it,” he said. “I mean – obviously we are not going to commit to anything yet – we haven’t even (started building), but that’s our plan and that’s our hope.”
“We’re just going to have to see how it goes,” he said.
The building is named after a man who dedicated 50 years of his life to the service of others as a firefighter, Moody said.
Lynn K. Bryson moved to Enterprise after retiring in Bountiful, Moody said, and went right to work volunteering and helping build the Enterprise Fire Department to its current status. Bryson was instrumental in acquiring much of the needed equipment for the department, Moody said, and he paid for two fire engines the department was in need of out of his own pocket.
“These two engines we have now, when he was with Bountiful … he actually purchased these two engines for Bountiful,” he said. “He went and designed them, picked them up and they were kind of his babies.”
When Bryson moved to Enterprise to retire and found the city was in desperate need of new engines, he purchased them from Bountiful, which was in the process of acquiring newer, updated engines, Moody said.
Bryson was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2014, and, Moody said, it hit everyone who knew him right in the gut. Wanting to make sure Bryson knew how much he was loved by the community, the City Council voted to name the new building after the man who devoted his life to the service of others.
“This is the perfect opportunity to show our respect for all that he has done for our community,” Moody said.
The new building will have four pull-through bays with enough room to house all equipment. Additionally, Moody said, there are some fairly large storage rooms and conference areas that could potentially serve as housing quarters if the department ever grows to need it.
A small miracle
The Community Development Block Grant that is making this all possible is a federal grant that’s administered through the state by way of the Five County Association of Governments.
Enterprise City had applied for the grant for five consecutive years, Bowler said. Then, after taking a few years off from the application hamster-wheel, they got back up on the horse once more.
The grant is for $300,000, Bowler said, and it is typically disbursed in a two-year cycle, $150,000 at a time; but they are allowing the firehouse to withdraw the full amount in the first year.
The key to successful procurement of the grant was the constant effort put into raising matching funds through impact fees and a variety of other sources, Bowler said. Part of that money was used to prep the land and hire an engineer to design the facility.
“If you come to them and say, ‘we need $300,000, but we don’t have any money to go towards that,’ it weakens your application,” he said.
Having these particular elements ready before presenting the grant application was the final piece of the puzzle that allowed grantors to understand that the city was committed and the investment would be worthwhile, Bowler said.
“This time our number came up,” he said. “And we are very pleased.”
Pounding the pavement
New City Council member Darcy Holt spent countless hours with her feet to the ground knocking door-to-door and asking Enterprise residents to share their personal financial information with her.
“To even be considered for the grant, the city had to prove that they were either low to moderate income,” Holt said.
Holt spent several months canvasing Enterprise following a random sample that was produced by a generator that chose which residents to visit. She went to 220 households that were sampled from around 1,700 residents in the community.
“The survey was very simple and it was anonymous,” Holt said. “We had a few (residents) that we couldn’t catch at home, but I did not have one person tell me no.”
The openness and kindness of the residents she now serves through the City Council was overwhelming to her at times, she said.
“It was just amazing,” Holt said. “Like, I went in and sat in these people’s living rooms and this was my first term on the City Council; and it was just a neat experience.
“It was hard and it was exhausting, but I got to know people and I got to know their situations and the things that they want for our city, and I guess I just really feel good about the whole thing.”
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