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Plum EMS contemplates moving headquarters to Renton site

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum Emergency Medical Service is considering a move to the borough property site in Renton.

“We have been looking for property, and we're not finding it,” Bob Moran, deputy director of the 22-year-old ambulance service, said after Monday night's council meeting.

Moran has said the EMS base has outgrown the 2,000 square feet at the borough building site on New Texas Road. The service employs 35 full-time and part-time employees. The number of calls has increased from about 700 in January 1991 to about 2,700 today.

The discussion was prompted by Councilman Michael Dell, finance committee chairman, announcing that borough officials are looking at refinancing an $11.1 million bond from 2010.

“We have an opportunity to refinance at a lower (interest) rate and free up money to build a fire department and EMS station,” Dell said.

Members of the Renton Volunteer Fire Department have said they would like to move their station from its present home on Renton Avenue to the borough property site about a half-mile away between Renton and Old Leechburg roads because it would be centrally located to their fire district.

Department officials also have considered expanding at the current site. Department President Anita Maydak said the social hall would remain at the Renton Avenue site.

The borough, as part of the construction of the public works facility, is building a pad at the Renton site for the fire department as well as infrastructure for utilities.

The public works building is expected to be completed next month.

Dell envisions one building for the EMS and the Renton fire department with each having its own facilities.

Dell also said the new fire station would be designed with a training center for all four borough volunteer fire departments.

Dell estimates the cost of the building at $1 million with another $1 million for the connection of Renton Road and Old Leechburg Road.

Moran said the ambulance service would repay the borough for the cost of the new facility.

Moran said moving to the Renton site would negate the ambulance service having to purchase property.

Estimates for purchasing property have gone from $35,000 to $250,000, Moran said.

Moran had concerns that moving the base to the Renton site would affect response time for calls for service. He said further evaluation indicated that response time would not be negatively affected.

Borough officials have additional development ideas for the Renton site.

Dell said borough officials continue to explore the option of building a municipal complex at the borough property site to include borough offices, police station and senior community center.

Borough engineer R.F. Mitall and Associates is studying the feasibility of building a municipal complex at the site.

Dell said development of a municipal complex hinges on redevelopment of the current site on New Texas Road.

A marketing study indicated a 58,000-square-foot grocery store would be profitable at the site. Officials have discussed leasing the site to a commercial developer and using the money to build a municipal complex at the Renton site.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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