North Routt celebrates new station with dance

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— Fred Astaire, you've got four days to find Ginger.

The North Routt Fire Protection District is hosting an old-fashioned barn dance this weekend.

Residents who call any part of the county home are invited to kick up their heels Saturday evening at North Routt's new fire station.

Volunteer fire and emergency medical personnel will dedicate the new building at 6 p.m. and continue the celebration with a barn dance from 7 to 11 p.m.

North Routt residents have plenty to celebrate.

A second fire station in their neighborhood means firefighters can respond more quickly to fire and ambulance calls.

The old fire station sits off Routt County Road 129 just north of the Clark Store. Its location is less than ideal when firefighters must respond to calls in Hahn's Peak and Columbine.

Getting from one end of the district to the other takes precious time, said Ken Brink, an emergency medical technician and firefighter with the department.

The new station stands at the corner of C.R. 62 and C.R. 129, about eight miles north of the original station.

Its proximity to the more northern edges of the district will increase firefighters' response time, Brink said.

The push for a new facility started in 1986. Chuck Vale, who heads the North Routt Fire Protection District, said the finished product reflects years of planning and dedication.

"This has been a long time in coming," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said.

North Routt voters overwhelming agreed to subsidize the project in November 2001. Routt County voters traditionally don't support tax increases, Monger said, but this project was different.

"It is a project we're pretty proud of," Vale said. "It's an absolutely gorgeous facility."

The ballot issue raised money to purchase a new ambulance and fire engine for the new station.

Neither vehicle has arrived, so neighboring districts are lending their vehicles for the dedication.

People can show up any time after 3 p.m. Volunteers will serve food from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and give tours upon request.

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