Grant is approved

After 19 months of hard work, the Bern Firehouse committee received word that the KAN STEP grant they applied for earlier in the year had been approved.

According to Grant Writer Garrett Nordstrom, the committee received the letter late last week from the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC) announcing the approval. The grant was awarded to Bern Fire District No. 4, in order for them to build a three bay fire barn that will house multiple trucks.

The Nemaha County Commissioners were able to read the approval letter at their meeting on Monday, July 10.

Next Steps

Although the committee was unsure of specific details about the next steps, Nordstrom said the KDOC will meet with the Bern Fire District and will engage in a technical assistance meeting.

After the meeting, the project’s architect – Emily Koenig – and the Fire District will work out the final details, and Koenig will then create the bid specifications.

After the bid specifications are complete, a bid letting will be held in order to have companies bid on the materials.

Following the acceptance of bids, work on the building will begin.

Project History

The process for building a new firehouse began in January 2016 after three representatives with the Bern Firehouse committee approached the Nemaha County Commission about applying for the KAN STEP Grant. A public hearing was held two weeks later, and it was approved to move forward with the pre-application process.

After the pre-application was approved through the KDOC, a site visit meeting was held on March 7, 2016.

One hundred twelve community members were present for the site visit meeting, at which the two KDOC representatives explained the KAN STEP grant process and what was expected of the community, as well as pitfalls to watch out for.

On May 16, 2016, Bern Fire District No. 4 representatives went back before the board in order to choose a KAN STEP Grant Administrator and Architect to help complete the project.

In September 2016, the grant was denied due to the size of the building that was planned.

In January 2017, the committee approached the Nemaha County Commission and received their approval to apply for KAN STEP Grant again.

In March 2017, the committee received approval for their pre-application.

In June 2017, the committee submitted their final application.

About the Grant

The KAN STEP Grant will provide funds if the community is willing to provide sweat equity and donations to equal at least 35 percent of the project. As part of the grant, an income survey is conducted and a significant percentage of the fire district must be classified as “low to moderate income” according to the grant guidelines.

The KAN STEP grant is the same grant that was used to build the Bern, Morrill and other community buildings.

Heather Stewart297 Posts

<p>Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.</p>

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