Fire Station Ribbon Cutting Ceremony On Friday, May 10 –
NORTH FORK – The mountain community of North Fork will dedicate its recently-completed 3,200-square-foot volunteer fire station at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, May 10th at 11 a.m.
The new facility, located at 33400 Douglas Ranger Station Road and costing more than $1 million, was the product of an innovative community collaborative that included Madera County, the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, the North Fork Community Development Council, and the North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary.
“This fire station is a perfect example of how local governments, tribal governments, and community organizations can work together to address a community’s needs,” said District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, whose supervisorial area includes North Fork. “North Fork was in desperate need of a new fire station, and together the community was able to give them just that. I can’t begin to explain how rewarding it has been to have a hand in this project.”
The County contributed $400,000 in capital improvement funds to the station, which sits on a 2.6-acre parcel at the old North Fork Mill Site. Complete with two drive-through bays, a bathroom, a reception/office area, and space for three fire apparatus, the station is far better equipped to accommodate North Fork’s nine paid-call firefighters.
“I’m glad to see our project is completed. It’s going to be greatly appreciated in our community,” said North Fork Fire Station Captain Diann Miller. “The station will accommodate us well into the future.”
The fire station collaborative was also significantly helped through participation of the area’s federally-recognized tribal government, the North Fork Rancheria, which contributed $496,000 from an Indian Community Development Block Grant (“ICDBG”) to the project, and obtained land to build much-needed senior and social services facilities for tribal members.
Ms. Elaine Bethel-Fink, Tribal Chairperson of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, stressed the collaborative, constructive nature of the agreement, saying
“Today is a great day as we celebrate the culmination of many years of hard work by our Tribe and local partners working together to address the needs of our town and the foothills. This new facility will benefit everyone – tribal citizens as well as neighbors; tribal properties as well as community structures.”
According to Fink, the fire station joins a long list of construction and renovation projects by the Tribe within the community including housing, office space, community meeting areas, and – down the road – the proposed casino resort near Madera.
“This agreement is a good example of a modern, sovereign American Indian government working to address the economic, social, and environmental needs of our people and surrounding communities simultaneously,” added Fink.
The North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary also played a vital role in seeing the fire station completed. With 123 supporting members, the Auxiliary worked tirelessly over the last few years to raise funds to support the department, and was able to contribute $64,754 to the project.
“The North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary is ecstatic that our new fire station is a reality,” said Sandy Chaille, president of the NFVFD Auxiliary. “The community has been so supportive of this effort over the years. I can’t say enough about our folks. They have been extremely generous, constant in their support, and excited that we, as a community, have accomplished that which some thought impossible. It’s amazing what can be done when all groups have a common goal.”
The fire station is the first new facility built at the North Fork Mill Site in 40 years. The North Fork Community Development Council, owner the mill site land, expects it to spur redevelopment of the site.
“The North Fork Community Development Council is thrilled that the new fire station is opening at the old mill site,” said Dan Rosenberg, president of the CDC, which donated land for both the fire station and Tribal social services facilities. “For nearly two decades, the CDC has worked to clean up the site and improve the infrastructure to make it suitable for redevelopment.”
The CDC and its local partners have been working since the closure of the Mill in 1994 to attract jobs and business back to the site and community. Their work included remediation efforts such as removal of certain buildings, underground fuel tanks and soil cleanup. Total cost of the clean up reached more than $2 million and was paid by grants and loans from various governmental agencies.
“For those in the community who have worked for years to clean up the site, put infrastructure underground and keep the CDC functioning, it is exciting to be in the midst of a state of development at the mill site,” Rosenberg said.
AGENCY PROJECT CONTRIBUTION
Madera County $400,000
North Fork Rancheria $496,000
North Fork Volunteer Fire Dept. Auxiliary $64,754
North Fork CDC 2.69 acres (assessed value $97,428)
Madera County Fire Department $3,381
Cal Fire Labor and Equipment
TOTAL LAND AND BUILDING COSTS $1,061,563