New Haven’s main fire station on Hartzell Road will soon be expanding. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place Jan. 11 for construction of a nearly $1 million addition to the station. Representatives from Allen County and the City of New Haven turned the shovels on what will soon be a 2,600-square-foot addition that will house a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site and be utilized as a multipurpose facility.

According to Steve McMichael, Mayor of the City of New Haven, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought awareness of the gap in service in the community. He added that the expansion will provide a second drive-thru bay for mass testing or vaccination. It can also be converted to a warming and cooling area for community residents.

“This addition is going to be something that will benefit our residents for years and years to come,” McMichael added. "In the recent past we experienced a large power outage. We had five or six days of 100-degree weather. In this facility we will have air conditioning in the new addition, and it will be a place where we can shelter residents.”

New Haven Fire Chief Josh Hale praised the developing facility, adding that with Indiana’s unpredictable weather all participants would be sheltered from inclement weather when administering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

“If the wind is blowing, we are going to be inside,” Hale said. “If you remember there was a testing site at Ivy Tech. If you pulled up there on a windy day, it was exceedingly difficult for the workers. This will give them an opportunity to be out of the weather.”

According to Hale, the new facility will be a welcome addition for the department. Its size provides the space for a variety of events.

“It could be set up to be utilized as an incident command post for a severe weather-related event, as a meeting place for the City of New Haven administration, the Allen County Commissioners, the Board of Health, and as a mass vaccination site,” Hale said. "This is an opportunity that brings a partnership between the City of New Haven and county government to be able to find a way to assist residents for whatever their needs may be.”

The City of New Haven has a population of 16,000 residents. In 2020, New Haven’s main fire station logged 2,377 calls out.

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