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Frenchtown (MI) Looking to Use Federal Funding to Buy Ambulances

Frenchtown Township Fire Rescue patch.

Dean Cousino

Monroe News, Mich.


Frenchtown Charter Township is seeking $479,980 in federal funding to buy two new ambulances to replace two GMC vehicles that are each a dozen years old and running out of steam.

The township has applied for a grant through Monroe County, which received $29.2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to provide relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. The township’s request was filed in the category of “public health,” one of seven categories available. The request was among 91 received from local agencies, units of government and non-profit organizations seeking funds. The total amount of funding sought is significantly more than what is available.

A 30-member appointed body will determine who is eligible for funding, but a decision may not be made until the end of the first quarter of 2022, said County Administrator Michael Bosanac.

Frenchtown Fire Chief Wendy Stevens said two new ambulances will cost an estimated $600,000 and the grant would cover most of that expense. She said the new vehicles are badly needed to upgrade service currently provided by the two older models.

“We see huge benefits in getting these ambulances,” Stevens said Tuesday. “We can’t get parts for (the old ones) anymore. They’re not guaranteed to run. We are licensed for advance life support, (but) don’t want to transport if another ambulance service is there. We need vehicles that are in good working order.”

So far in 2021, the township’s ambulances have been used 16 times.

The fire department services 23,000 residents who live in 44 square miles and works with Monroe Community Ambulance, which transports most patients in accidents and emergencies to area hospitals.

“All public safety is a priority,” Stevens said. “Our shopping corridor along Telegraph Rd. and other places attracts more people every year. We think these grants will (create) positive change.”

Stevens said that even if the township only received funding for one new ambulance, that’s better than not getting anything at all.

“You ask for a lot and hope for something to come through,” she said.

Frenchtown’s water department also filed a grant request for $533,500 to buy quick-connection nozzles on 1,950 water hydrants in the township. The more modern fittings cost about $275 each and would also improve service in the township.

“This would also provide a huge benefit to residents if the firefighters can attach to the quick connects,” Stevens said. “We have about 2,200 hydrants in the township, but some of them are in the mobile home parks and new businesses, and they are not serviced by the fire department.”

Josh Maddox, fire inspector for the township, suggested the connections be replaced and both he and Rich Weirich, water utility director, wrote the grant request.


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