Squad can reclaim its home

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:30

    First aid building to be repaired, thanks to funding from Franklin Boro By Mark J. Yablonsky FRANKLIN — When people are in need of help, one of the first places they reach out to is emergency first aid squad services. Now, some of those very same squad personnel are getting a much-needed shot in the arm themselves from local government. Franklin’s Borough Council last week voted to re-allocate leftover funds from last year’s budget to help the Wallkill Valley First Aid Squad repair its badly-worn building, at the corner of Corkhill Road and Franklin Avenue. The six-member council voted unanimously to release $5,000 from last year’s squad allocations to help offset the costs of ongoing repair/renovation work at the “uninhabitable” squad building. Due to various structural problems, the first aid squad has spent nearly the past two years operating out of the borough garage, also on Corkhill Road. Repaving, replacing The money will go toward repaving the building’s front apron and parking lots, and toward offsetting a large portion of the cost for replacing the building’s bay doors, borough officials said. The squad has been holding fundraisers to help cover its costs, but that’s a slow way to pay the bills. “So what the council has done is to assist in these efforts,” said borough administrator Richard R. Wolak. “We’ve also given authorization for our DPW (Department of Public Works) to assist with the paving to keep costs at a bare minimum.” All volunteer group The Wallkill Valley squad is made up entirely of volunteers and covers numerous local towns, including Franklin, Hardyston, Hamburg, Ogdensburg and Sparta. In addition, its members at times assist on backup aid to other towns, including Vernon. “But we really feel they deserve a home of their own,” Wolak added. “Normally, we don’t get involved but the council felt that it was appropriate because of the tremendous contributions the squad makes to our society — at a fraction of the cost we would incur if the borough was responsible for providing that service on its own.” The squad had originally intended to replace the building altogether, but without “necessary funding,” it became clear that it had to rehabilitate instead. Now, the squad can park its vehicles at the building, but without adequate heat, it cannot operate there during the cold weather months. The town is hoping that this work can be completed prior to the arrival of the cold weather months. To get involved or learn more, call the squad at 973- 827-7530.