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      Community kindles fire station debate

      Community members were encouraged to come out to the Leland fire station Thursday night to learn more about a couple of building proposals.

      Township leaders are trying to decide whether or not to update their two fire-stations in Leland and Lake Leelanau or build a brand new one.

      â??It really is a tough question,â?? said David Lemak of Lake Lelanau. â??The biggest reason why, is that we have this big lake in the middle of our community.â??

      It's a matter many people take to heart: the safety of their community.

      â??Everybody looks at their fire station almost like the neighborhood school,â?? said Richard Royston, Leland Township Fire Chief. â??Both fire stations are outdated and need upgrading.â??

      Updating the existing stations would cost around $3.5 million.

      â??From an economics point of view, it's tough to overlook the fact that we have two existing facilities that are functional in their own ways. So the question is can we adequately us them to provide the same thing as one station would do,â?? said Lemak.

      The other option on the table is consolidating the current stations by building a brand new facility at the intersection of M-204 and Hoeft Road.

      According to current township estimates, a new station would cost about $5 million.

      The community agrees something needs to be done.

      â??I think the fire department will make either option work,â?? said Royston.

      â??Any choice you make, you'll make a compromise. There's not a way you can get within 5-6 minutes, an adequately trained person to someone in cardiac arrest all the time,â?? said Lemak.

      Some believe having two stations could provide better coverage to high value locations like schools and the marina.

      Others are worried that a change in location could increase their insurance rates.

      Township leaders will continue gathering community input. They will then decide which option to put on the August ballot. They hope to have the proposal language finalized by May.