While the shovels may have all been painted gold, they weren’t just bought off the shelf; some were used, donated, came in different sizes, and had different uses. It was a metaphor for the day as community members from the small community of Parmelee, South Dakota, located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, gathered. A project started over four years ago, involving partnerships with ten different organizations/agencies to bring to fruition, broke ground recently on the long awaited, sought after fire hall.
“I wish to thank everyone who has so willingly supported us in our efforts,” said Susan Kary, Secretary/Treasurer for the Parmelee Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD). “This wouldn’t have been possible without the partnerships. We appreciate everyone who participated in our event. It means so much to our volunteer fire men and women and our small community to see this project become a reality.”
“This project exemplifies President Obama’s commitment to invest in improved infrastructure and is a prime example of how Rural Development programs can assist with the development of essential community services,” said Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks. “The leaders of this small community determined that they were in need of a fire station – they had already secured a fire truck – and they persevered until they secured the funding even though it took them over four years.”
The old fire department was housed in a one stall garage and was donated space for their one truck bought in 2008. Parmelee is about 20 miles from the next closest fire department in Mission, SD. The Parmelee community decided that they could not continue to depend on fire crews that are too far away to assist with timely responses to emergency situations.
Funds for the fire hall were supported by South Dakota USDA Rural Development through Community Facility Direct loan and a Community Facility grant, along with other funding including a $10,000 applicant contribution, and $130,000 Community Development Block Grant from the State of South Dakota.
The partnerships and financial resources will allow the construction of a 3,500 square foot building. The 20-person volunteer fire department will serve a population of 1,188. A portion of the facility will be made available as needed for community functions.
To find out more about how USDA’s Community Facilities Program can assist your area, click here.