Paramedics, staff members and community members gathered around a newly renovated, white building with a shiny Washington County ambulance inside on Monday afternoon.
Kalona has recently renovated a city-owned building for an ambulance station.
Ryan Schlabaugh, Kalona city administrator, said the conversations had been happening for a while surrounding the addition of an ambulance in the north end of Washington County to better serve the residents of Riverside, Wellman and Kalona.
“Through those discussions we had an opportunity through an acquisition from Shiloh,” Schlabaugh said. “Shiloh donated this land and this building.”
Shiloh is a former church property that was annexed into Kalona. The deal included donation of buildings and faciltiies to the city.
Riverside administrator Christine Yancey said that the city of Kalona had an estimated cost of $45,000 and had asked each city to contribute $15,000. At a Riverside City Council meeting, the council voted to not move forward with the request to contribute, leaving Wellman and Kalona to each pay $22,500 for the new facility.
The council subsequently decided at its July 6 meeting to contribute the $15,000, while the other two committed $22,500 each. Yancey said the facility cost $50,000 to $60,000 to renovate.
Schlabaugh said the building is about 2,000 square feet and was fully developed in about three weeks. Once the cities came together, he said, the project proceeded quickly.
The city of Kalona is currently providing the space lcoated at 2285 133rd St. rent free, while the county pays utilities for the space.
“I’ve heard just the positives of being able to provide an additional asset to the county,” Schlabaugh said.
Kalona paramedic Connor Tarvin said that Wellman, Riverside and Kalona would have drastically quicker response times for calls. He said the new station will cut nearly 10 to 12 minutes off response time, minutes that are critical in medical emergencies.
“It’ll make our job easier; we’ll get there sooner,” Tarvin said.