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Dawning customized hardhats, Ashland public officials moved earth in unison to celebrate the groundbreaking event for the city's 2nd fire station.  From left to right: 

Todd Harford, Dick Beal, Steve Workman, Matt Miller, Rick Anderson, Dennis Miller, Angela Woodward, Dan Lawson, and Robert Valentine.

ASHLAND -- The Ashland Fire Division marked a historic occasion on Friday joined by various city personnel in officially breaking ground for the city of Ashland’s second fire station. 

The momentous occasion kicks off the construction process, which is expected to be completed by the scheduled ribbon cutting on June 20, 2021. 

A large gathering was held Thursday afternoon to celebrate the occasion, including members of Ashland City Council, members of the Ashland County Commissioners, as well as former mayors Duane Fishpaw and Glen Stewart.

“As we break ground today on Ashland Fire Division Station #2, this is the biggest thing to happen to the Ashland City Fire Department in more than forty years,” said Mayor Matt Miller.  “It’s much needed and it’s going to benefit a lot of citizens not just in Ashland City, but the surrounding area.”

Miller mentioned the importance in choosing this location for the station’s construction.

“There is a purpose for this station sitting on this corner of Mifflin (Avenue) and (Route) 42,” Miller said. “Most of the residential growth that has occurred in this great city over the last decade or more has happened on the south side of the city.

“This location will dramatically improve the response times for this entire section what, quite-frankly, you could call our county.”

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A look at what the 2nd fire station will look like sitting on the corner of Mifflin Avenue and U.S. Route 42.

Ashland city also offers emergency services to Montgomery and Milton Townships. Samaritan Hospitals originally owned the property, which is a little less than five acres of property.

The land was given to the city under the stipulation that a fire station was built on the property within five years.

“We strive to fund organizations that have a proven record of providing quality service to our community,” said Dick Beal, President of the Samaritan Hospital Foundation. “Without a doubt, this group that is here today accomplishes that.

“This new fire station, like it’s already been said, will save lives.”

Beal and the Samaritan Hospital Foundation also contributed $300,000 towards the purchase of a new fire truck. Simonson Construction will handle the building of the structure, which will cost $2.85 million dollars and is estimated to be roughly 8,300 square feet.

Fire Chief Rick Anderson said that this new fire station spoke on the importance of this project.

“We’ve waited a long time,” Anderson said. “It’s not just dividing up the crew, it’s not just getting these guys in two different places; it’s being able to serve the community much quicker, much more efficient.

“With this station here, anything from the Fairgrounds west -- we’re taking three to four minutes off of that response time. That’s huge.”

Firefighter Matt Spaniel expressed the importance of those few minutes.

“Three to four minutes might not sound like much, but when it comes to an emergency situation, it could be the difference between life or death,” Spaniel said.

Todd Harford, President of University Hospitals Samaritan Medial Center also took a moment to acknowledge Ashland’s fire department.

“On behalf of all the health care providers at University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center, we are honored to be a part of this project to give Chief Anderson and his extraordinary team the ability to respond quickly to any emergency needs whether it be medical or fire,” Harford said. “We are happy to be able to support the community and, as the mayor says, ‘Keep Ashland on the rise.”

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West Sunbury, PA native & recent AU grad. Also the news and sports announcer for 104.5 WQKT in Wooster & a trivia host at local venues. An avid vinyl record collector with a cat named Raava and hedgehog named Lucille.