Rock Island resident Jason Dodson is so concerned about getting an ambulance station located in his community, he’s willing to sell the county land for $1.
Dodson said he has a piece of land on Pine Bluff Road he is willing to sell for $1 for the purpose of building an ambulance station. He said he would ask for the land to be sold back to him for $1 if, for whatever reason, the station is not built on that property.
“I’m going to keep pushing for this. I think we need it,” said Dodson, who serves as constable for the 7th District.
Dodson has been circulating a petition urging residents of the Rock Island, Midway and Campaign areas to support a new EMS station in the upper eastern portion of the county. Dodson said Rock Island has 20 businesses in the area, nine of which have opened in the past year.
“These new antique shops bring in a lot of business and tourists,” said Dodson. “Retired folks are living on the river and moving to the country. Rock Island has doubled within the last two years,” Dodson said talking about Rock Island Road.
Approximately 310 people have signed the petition so far.
Dodson said Rock Island State Park has received 484,934 visitors since September 2012 which does not include 2,100 cabin guests and 9,500 campers. The camper total does not tell how many individuals stayed in each camper during their visit.
“When the economy is down, people still visit Rock Island Park,” said Dodson. “You can pack up your family, pack a lunch and come to the park for free. You can stay there all day and swim and it costs nothing. People come here every day not just from out of town, but from out of state. With the economy picking up, the antique stores do tons of business. Drive by here on a Saturday, and those parking lots are full.”
Warren County EMS director Brian Jennings said Dodson is on the right track as far as getting an ambulance station for the area. “Step one is to take signed petitions to the commissioners of this district,” said Jennings. “They will send it on to the county Safety Committee and then to the full County Commission. If it passes, for step two, a feasibility study will need to be done. Step three is where funding comes in. Continued funding will most likely cause a tax increase.”
Jennings said he will be the person to do a feasibility study, if the proposal reaches step two. “I would go out and do time trials and give the commissioners the information to see if that is something they would want to fund,” he said.
Jennings brought maps to a previous county Health and Welfare Committee meeting showing where ambulances have been dispatched in the past year. The majority of dots were located within the city of McMinnville with a high concentration in the Morrison and Centertown areas.
A second map had dots representing each ambulance station in the county. Circles were drawn around the dots showing a six-minute response time from the center of the circle to the outer edge of the circle. According to the map, the response time to Rock Island would be approximately 12 minutes if the ambulance left from Station 1 which is located on Magness Drive near River Park Hospital.
Dodson said that 12-minute response time is not accurate, in his opinion. “It would be more like 18 to 22 minutes on a good day to some areas, especially if they have to go to Midway,” he said. “Also, roads like Great Falls Road and Warren County Park Road take forever to get to.”
Warren County currently has four EMS stations: Magness Drive (Station 1), Manchester Highway in Morrison (Station 2), Old Smithville Highway (Station 3) and Highway 8 and Shellsford Road (Station 4).
Jennings said the cost of building Station 4 was approximately $160,000. It opened in November, 2009. Jennings also said the cost does not include utilities such as gas, water and electric. He said the cost of staffing a 24-hour ambulance service would be $220,000, which is a recurring cost yearly.