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NIACC hears it from neighbors over fire training center

NIACC got an earful Wednesday night when it met with its neighbors over the construction of a fire training center on Highway 122. Watch video highlights of the meeting.|A fire training center that NIACC wants to build on sub-standard farmland on Highway 122 near its campus brought neighbors and NIACC and City officials together for a meeting Wednesday night at NIACC.

Neighbors that would be affected by the project have been voicing concerns to the media for weeks about water run-off issues the new construction would cause, but up until last night NIACC had mostly ignored their concerns.

At the meeting, some of their frustrations were made known, loud and clear. “Don’t build it next to my house, period. We don’t want it there” Brad Johnson told NIACC officials, seated at a huge round table in Room 100 of the Administration Building. “Is it possible to find a new location?” asked Johnson’s neighbor, Bob LeDoux.

City Councilman Jeff Marsters expressed concerns that the project would become more like the project outlined in the original grant application, in which the project would include amenities like an emergency driving practice area and a burn pit, among other things.

Max Weaver, a City Councilman who also attended the meeting, had some pointed remarks and questions for Tony Pappas, Director of Facilities Management for NIACC,and the other NIACC officials. “What you are telling us here (tonight) does not blend in with (official City memos he was given) for the fire training center.” Weaver also says the fire training center would not look good on the east “gateway” to Mason City. “It’s an abandoned house,” he said.

Rob Wilcox and his wife Joy also attended the meeting and let the board know they were not happy about the perceived withholding of information about the project by NIACC. “We still haven’t received the letter from Deb Derr (NIACC President) that other people have gotten and, nobody has been re-contacted by you, Mr. Platts (Mason City Fir Chief),” Mrs. Wilcox said.

NIACC has to spend their $511,000 in grant money by June 30, 2011. Also, the bid from a company in Wisconsin that would be constructing the fire training center is good only until December 10, 2010.

In the end, Mr. Pappas agreed to speak with NIACC President Debra Derr about alternate locations for the fire training center.

Stay tuned to for the next development.

Watch video highlights of the meeting:

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