Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Concerns about the cities of Gardner and Edgerton looking at closing down main roads were addressed at Tuesday’s fireboard meeting.
Dennis Meyers, chief, said the City of Gardner was threatening to shut down 183rd street and the City of Edgerton was threatening to shut down 191st street.
“It would be devastating for us,” he said. “We can’t let them close down those two primary roads.”
Meyers said it would cause huge delays and would be a major public safety issue. “We work off seconds,” he said.
Meyers said it was a misnomer that only a few people show up to an emergency situation. “We take everyone,” he said. “We send everyone.”
Meyers said if 183rd street is closed they would have to go all the way around and if 191st were closed they would have to go to I-35 and Homestead.
Connie Schmidt, board member, said she wanted to know what the cities rationales were for shutting down the roads.
Meyers said it was because of intermodal truck traffic issues between the two cities. “I’m not into politics,” he said. “It’s tit for tat, but I have to stand my ground for public safety.”
Meyers said the fire department opposes the closing of roads, and they need to have a legal discussion. “We will hit the drums as hard as we can,” he said. “We will be the first at the podium to holler.”
Gregorcyk said he is for regulating the truck traffic on 183rd street because of kids running across the street but doesn’t want the road closed. Gregorcyk is on the Gardner City Council.
Gregorcyk said they could look into state level opportunities to lobby and partner with to not close 191st street.
“We need to understand other arrangements to keeping the road open,” he said.

In other news
A new battalion chief vehicle was approved at a cost of $67,000 at the Oct. 14 Johnson County Fire District No. 1 meeting.
Dennis Meyers, fire chief, said they had to order it by November 1 in order to receive it for 2022. Meyers said they had several vehicles they could part with for a trade in that would reduce the cost to $3 to $4,000.
A promotional process for two captains and one lieutenant was approved. Chief Trig Morley said the lieutenant position had been created in haste in 2010.
“It wasn’t real thought out,” he said.
Morley said each shift will have two captains and one lieutenant and as of November 28 District 2 will be the only firehouse run by two companies due to the merger.
Randy Gregorcyk, member, said he wanted to know if the process was open to both firehouses, how many were needed for the hiring process’s next step and if the interview team were from Spring Hill and Gardner-Edgerton.
Morley said the merge’s minimum requirements from both districts were seven to eight from one firehouse and five from the other.
The six battalion chiefs would work through the process as they’d be overseeing them, he said. And anyone who waited out of Johnson County can apply for the positions.
Meyers said the new station will have all administration moved over mid December, and they didn’t purchase any new office furniture. Meyers said all light fixtures were replaced by themselves for $1,900.
“FlexSteel donated 22 recliners,” he said. “They don’t all match perfectly, but they work well.”
Gregorcyk said he wanted to know how they could reciprocate the gift.
Meyers said a lot of places don’t want anything. “They’re just nice and want to help,” he said.
The 2022 Health, Dental and Vision Insurance plan was approved. The fire district will be staying with Humana and Principal.