Marysville News

Hylands fighting to keep name on fire station

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Members of the Hyland family are hoping the court of public opinion will keep their name on Marysville's new fire station.

And they're asking residents to help by calling or emailing Mayor John Gore and members of Marysville City Council.

The $6.8-million Marysville Municipal Services Complex and Fire Station 272 now under construction is expected to be finished this fall. It will replace the old fire station (commonly was referred to as Station 271) and the current City Hall.

The old building has been called the Harold E. "Pappy" Hyland Fire Station since 1976. The plaque out front says so. So do newspaper clippings.

Bob Hyland, the only surviving child of Pappy and Ruth Hyland, chokes up when he recalls fighting fires beside his father years ago. He doesn't understand why the new fire station won't carry the name of his dad, who worked for nearly 40 years for Marysville when it was just a village. The elder Hyland was fire chief for a decade before retiring in December 1968. He died of a heart attack less than three months later.

Local barber Rusty Arnold has been doing his part to support the Hylands, spending a lot of time on the phone with city officials.

"I'm mad," Arnold said. "Pappy Hyland and his family deserve better than this."

Gore said the controversy is unfortunate and he's trying to deal with the situation fairly and delicately. He said he never had heard the old building referred to as the Hyland Fire Station.

While stressing that he certainly means no disrespect to anyone, Gore pointed out that there is a plaque inside City Hall honoring former Mayor Tom Knuckles and there was a plaque at the fire station in remembrance of former Fire Chief Ralph Burns. Those names matter, too, he said, and his intent is to honor all of the city's past, not just a part of it.

Gore's solution is to hang all the plaques on a new wall of honor, add one indicating that the building sits on the site of the former Hyland Fire Station, and display Chief Hyland's biography.

The Hylands say that's a slap in the face.

"That implies it's about the bricks," said Bob Hyland's wife, Mary Ann. "It's absurd - and it means we've forgotten the people who built Marysville into what it is today - to take the name away."

Some cities and school districts long ago stopped attaching names to buildings, finding that the hard feelings it creates - and potential troubles if the family name is ever tarnished - outweigh any good will the gesture engenders.

The mayor said he realizes the situation "is probably lose-lose" for him.

"But as mayor, while I know that every decision I make might not be popular, I would like to think that every decision I make is fair and the right one for the city as a whole," he said.

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