EMS gets $5M for new facility

The old Melich House on 100 East is more than 110 years old. It provides sleeping quarters to EMS personnel. The agency has received a preliminary offer of more than $5 million in a grant and loan from the Community Impact Board, funding that would be used to build a new facility. Photo by Doug McMurdo

Utah’s Community Impact Board, a statewide entity that grants money for essential public services, preliminarily offered Grand County EMS slightly more than $5 million in a combination grant and loan on Sept. 5 when Elizabeth Tubbs, chair of the Grand County EMS Special Service District governing board, presented the need for facilities.

Tubbs, “painted a great picture of the current status of our run down and outdated facilities,” said EMS Capt. McKay Vowles in an email to The Times-Independent.

EMS Director Andy Smith and EMS board members in April took the Grand County Council and other public officials on a tour of the three sites from which it operates. They include an old and leaky building at 520 East 100 North, next to the Rockridge Senior Housing complex; the ambulance bay, which formerly served as a bus barn behind the county building; and a 111-year-old home on 100 East, which serves as sleeping quarters.

Vowles said Tubbs provided a history lesson of sorts to members of the Community Impact Board regarding Grand County EMS’ transition over the past three years. It has grown from a volunteer agency to a full-time department and moved from under the county’s umbrella into an independent, special service district.

Bruce Adams, a member of both the Community Impact Board and the San Juan County Commission, advocated for the project “and encouraged his fellow board members to vote in favor,” according to Vowles.

The original funding request sought a 50-50 split between grant and loan, each in the amount of $2.365 million, with the loan interest set at 2.5 percent.

Grand County EMS has accepted a preliminary offer, which Vowles said could still change, of $1.365 million in a grant funding and a zero interest, 30-year loan of $3.365 million.

The final offer made by the fund board at its meeting in early October could be different from the preliminary offer, and there is still work to be done, namely finding a site on which to build the facility.

“As an agency we still have a few things to work out, the site of the facility is still not chosen and we are working on finalizing a location,” said Vowles. “But the outlook for breaking ground in the next few months on a new facility is looking promising.”