Legislators offer support for St. Lawrence County Fire Training Facility
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 2:49 pm

By JIMMY LAWTON

CANTON – St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators offered a resolution of support, but no real money, for a St. Lawrence County Fire Training Facility.

Legislator Joseph Lightfoot said St. Lawrence County Fire Training Facility, Inc., the organization formed to raise money for the facility, would like the county to contribute cash, but the current economic climate makes that difficult.

“They came and told us they needed about $180,000 for the training center, but before we can spend that money, we need to know where it is coming from,” he said.

Dale Gardner, co-chair of the fundraising organization, said the project will cost a total of $450,000, but $200,000 has already been promised from state representatives.

In October, state senators Joseph Griffo, Betty Little and Patty Ritchie announced they had secured $100,000.

A similar announcement came from Assemblywoman Addie Russell’s office Monday.

Gardner said the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency has also offered a loan to the group, but more money is still needed, money he hoped might come from the county.

Lightfoot said the board will likely discuss options for funding the project over the next few months, but it won’t be an easy decision.

He said funding for FISHCAP and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, combined with the Fire Training Facility request would equate to roughly $250,000.

“That’s a quarter of a million dollars, or about half a percent in our budget. It’s a lot of money,” he said.

Despite financial standing of the county, Lightfoot said the project is an important one.

“Training in any occupation, or endeavor is the most import thing. If you aren't trained you aren't going to act very well in a real situation. And this can be life or death for our first responders and fire fighters,” he said.

Lightfoot credited state legislators for securing funding from Albany. He said the fact that money came from both democrats and republicans illustrated the merit of the project.