The last time a new Jackson Township Fire Station was built, the year was 1978 and the population of Grove City was around 23,000.
Today, the population is more than 46,000 people. On Saturday, May 3, Jackson Township Fire Station 204, located at 4900 Buckeye Parkway, officially opened.
"It's a very great day for Jackson Township," said Township Administrator Mike Lilly.
Housing the township's fourth fire station, the new facility will serve the southeast quadrant of Grove City, which is considered the fastest growing area of the township.
The township estimates 25 to 30 percent of the department's runs will be in this area. Plans to build a new station were first talked about in 2000.
"We've been waiting a long time for this station," said Jackson Township Board of Trustees Chairman David Burris. "We knew we needed to do something."
The new station, which is 10,000 square feet in size, also houses a new engine and medic unit. It also has a Sept. 11 Memorial with an I-beam recovered from the World Trade Center in New York City.
Acting Fire Chief Rick Dawson said the monument is intended as a key marker that makes a statement.
"This piece of steel, this monument, represents the best of the fire service," Dawson said. "This represents the best of those people."
The monument has four blocks on the ground in front of it, each block commemorating one of the four airplanes lost that day. There is also time capsule containing writings from area students that is scheduled to be opened in 50 years.
The station was financed by a $1.5 million Federal Emergency Management Agency stimulus grant and $2.5 million from a Grove City Tax-Increment Financing district.
"Our debt is zero," Burris said. "We continue to work together for the betterment of our community."
Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said the new station would not have happened without cooperation, partnership, sharing and trust between the city and township.
"This is the way we've got to do it in the future," he said. "There are no losers."
State Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) was mayor of Grove City when plans for the station first got underway.
"In government, everything takes forever to get done," she said. "When we share important goals together, the possibilities are unlimited."
Trustee Stephen Bowshier thanked the residents for their support, and Trustee Jim Rauck said the firefighters and staff are what make the department great.
"I'm proud of every one of them," Rauck said.
The opening ceremony for the new station concluded with members of the fire department pushing in the new 40,000-pound fire engine to recall historical fire service, a time when fire apparatus was operated by mechanical pumps and hand pulled.