TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga Emergency Squad has started the process it hopes will result in a new home.
The Ticonderoga town board agreed Feb.12 to sell land for a new ambulance building to the squad for a $1 - with conditions.
The squad must have the money for a new facility in hand in two years and construction must be complete in another two years or the land, located at the site of the former Ticonderoga Civic Center between The Portage and Lake Champlain Avenue, reverts back to town ownership.
Dennis Johnson, president of the Ti squad, told the town board a new ambulance home is needed. The present building, located behind the Ti Community Building, is inadequate for the squad's needs, he said, and is a safety concern because it's difficult for the ambulance to reach the street during an emergency.
The squad has been in the same location since 1963.
Ti Supervisor Bob Dedrick explained the land, which once was the site of Ticonderoga High School, was given to the town by the school district with two restrictions. If the land is sold, the money from the sale must go to the school and the grassy area in front of the building site must remain a public park.
The proposed ambulance building must sit within the footprint of the now demolished school building, he stressed.
The Ticonderoga Emergency Squad receives no taxpayer funding from Ticonderoga, Johnson pointed out. It does get $5,500 a year from Putnam, he said. The former village of Ticonderoga used to fund the squad. "We haven't gotten any money from the town (village) for many, many years," said Ted Stanfield, squad vice president, asking the town board to support the project. "This is something you can do to say thank you."
Dedrick said the board is aware of the emergency squad's efforts and appreciates their work.
The squad funds its services through donations, fundraising events and by billing insurance companies of the people it transports.
In 2008 the squad had a budget of $124,000.
The emergency squad hopes to sell the current building and use the money for the new facility, Johnson said. It is also looking for grants.
"We've had a great out pouring of people looking forward to helping us," Johnson said. "We're very optimistic."
Johnson declined to give a cost estimate for a new building. Once the squad receives the deed to the land, he said, a detailed proposal will be made public.
When the unit formed following World War II, patients were picked up in an old hearse donated by a local funeral home.
Today, the Ti Emergency Squad has state-of-the-art ambulances, equipment and training. In fact, the Ti squad is the only North Country unit with a "thumper," an auto-pulse cardiopulmonary resuscitation device.
It's roster has more than 50 members, including 28 emergency medical technicians.
In 2007 the squad responded to 615 calls - nearly two a day.