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New tenant for Industrial Park?

The Washington County Industrial Park could soon have a hot new tenant.
The Washington County Volunteer Fire Chiefs Association has asked the county to donate two acres of land adjacent to the Nakatetsu plant for the creation of a fire training facility.
“Instead of sending our guys to Bell Buckle in the middle of nowhere for training, we formed our own training association,” said Charlie Baines, fire chief of the Nolichuckey Volunteer Fire Department. “We have been certified and it’s a higher-grade training than what the state school offers.”
The acreage being considered for the facility is reportedly in a flood zone, meaning the land could not be developed for industrial or residential use.
“This would be the only thing that land would be good for,” Baines said. “You can’t add any structure to it.”
The Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation reportedly has given its okay for the land to be used in such a manner, stipulating only that the creek running through it cannot be moved and a tower no larger than 40 feet could be built on the property for training purposes.
“The tower could be used for search and rescue training, rope rescue and rapid intervention training,” said Chad Bruckman, of the Washington County Emergency Management Agency. “All the volunteer departments in the county would be eligible to use the facility. We would charge for departments outside of the county to use it.”
In addition to the tower, the facility would also include a small building where live burns would be conducted, a hazardous materials training location and other training stations. It would also include a spot for departments to test the pumps on their fire trucks.
“Right now we’re having to pay a company to do our pump tests. That costs $200 per truck,” Baines said. “We could do our own pump tests if we had a place to do it.”
In all, eight fire departments in the county would be using the training center: Embreeville, Gray, Fall Branch, Jonesborough, Limestone, Sulphur Springs, Nolichuckey and Watauga.
Each agency would be asked to assist in funding the construction of the facility.
“All of the volunteer fire departments talked about putting $5,000 each into a fund to make it work,” Bruckman said. “We’re trying to save money. We want something that is more cost effective for us and our budgets, which are tight.”
The County-Owned Property Committee of Washington County, at its meeting earlier this month, voted unanimously to recommend to the full county commission donating the land at the Industrial Park to the association for a fire training center.