McCook Fire Chief, Marc Harpham made that point as he stood in the 24-inch spacing between ambulance and fire truck as he described the 4-foot-plus space that was actually needed to upgrade the ambulance.
"This size of ambulance is not available anymore," he said. "We would have to go with the larger model, which we don't have room to park."
Harpham cited increased maintenance costs as a concern when working with aged vehicles.
Acting Lieutenant Shane Smith also described occurrences of the aged overhead doors in the bay getting stuck while raising, which led to further damage to the bay doors requiring door and panel replacement.
Fire Department personnel quarters are cramped as well, and a storage room was recently converted to quarters to accommodate a female temp, which caused further congestion and has made access to file cabinets difficult.
Although the group Chief of Police Isaac Brown led through the police department side of the public service center numbered only a dozen, the first six were the only ones able to make eye contact with the guide for most of the tour.
A labyrinth of a floor plan and logistical problems such as officers having to go outside and around the building, to access a 10-by-10 foot interview room, which is also at maximum capacity with one desk in it. "Of course that means through the snow certain times of the year" added the chief.
The block walls of the facility also limit access to electrical wires for certain areas, restricting computers and other electrical equipment to placement on certain walls. This is compounded with dated wiring and "we have been told we cannot add a single outlet without an electrical upgrade, which will not fix the issue of dated wiring" the chief said. The dated wiring has trouble carrying its current load at times, which causes weekly power surges that have damaged equipment.
"Each year we replace monitors and other equipment simply due to these power surges" added the chief.
City Manager Kurt Fritsch was asked about the possibility of the county partnering with the city on a new facility and responded that he "didn't believe the county was ready to move on that."
County commissioner, Leigh Hoyt confirmed "that's the way the vote went."
When questioned by the group regarding the differences in the new City Service Center plan from four years ago vs. the current proposal, Fritsch responded that the current fire station plan as a better plan and the city administration was not part of that plan four years ago.
Brown was asked if it had been difficult to rally public support for an improvement over such an obviously insufficient building and the chief speculated that "the public may see the end result [of our department], but may not be seeing what has gone on to get there. I hope folks take an opportunity to look at it."
The chief later added, "We try to do a good job 24/7; deteriorating facilities that are so cramped make that job tougher to do. The public needs to decide, and I truly respect and appreciate that.
"My hope is that down the road we have a facility designed for its function and one that the community can be proud of."