MONROE, CT — Town Council members voted unanimously to accept a $10,000 donation from the Monroe Rotary Club to the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Services’ building project Monday. The money will be used toward a new training room at the facility within the Jockey Hollow Firehouse at 54 Jockey Hollow Road.
Monroe EMS Chief Don Smith accepted a giant check from Rotary Club members in front of the dais. Smith thanked the civic organization for the contribution, which he said will be a big asset moving forward.
“But I also want to say thank you, because not only are the funds important, but the public support means a lot to our members to show that the public appreciates what they do on a day-to-day basis to make Monroe a safe community,” Smith said. “It keeps us motivated to do what we do. It keeps our volunteers motivated, so thank you so much for this.”
Voters approved $4.1 million worth of bonding for the project at a Town Meeting on June 28. In addition to the bonding, the town will use a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistant Program grant.
Rotary Club members raised some of the funds for their donation from their annual golf tournament at Whitney Farms Golf Course, which took place during a steady rain on Sept. 9.
EMS outgrows facility
The Monroe EMS used to work out of the electric room of the police station on Fan Hill Road, before moving to its current location at the Jockey Hollow Firehouse in 2001.
Over the years, Smith said the ambulance service has seen an annual call volume increase, rising from 900 to 1,500 calls. The EMS, which has between 45 and 50 members, has outgrown its facility.
Training needs also increased over the years and the current facility does not have room for a full membership meeting. Sometimes tables are moved out of a room or apparatus out of a bay to make room for training, according to Smith.
The facility also has no offices for administrative staff.
The building project, which is currently underway, includes office space, a conference room, a training classroom, a day room and a full kitchen, as well as bathrooms and showers upstairs where members of the overnight crew will sleep. There will also be a new public entrance with public restrooms.
Outside, the plan includes more parking, which will allow the EMS to host training classes.
The project was led by the EMS Building Committee, whose current members are Chairman Terry Rooney, John Brenna, Robert Westlund, Domenic Paniccia, Michael Vitello and John Ostaszewski.
Jacunski Humes Architects designed the project and John Kwasniewski, of Burlington Construction, is the project manager.