Staff photos by Lynne Hermansen

Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Johnson County Fire District 1 welcomed the public and area officials to the opening of the new Station 81 Firehouse at Logistics Park with a “ribbon cutting” ceremony April 6.
On February 15, 2022, the new Station 81 located at 33364 W. 191st St. was placed into service.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, members from Johnson County Board of Commissioners, City of Edgerton, City of Gardner, Johnson County Med-Act and more helped Chief Dennis Meyers “uncouple” fire hoses for the official ribbon ceremony.
Meyers thanked everyone in attendance for celebrating with him.
The vision began nine years ago from conversations with former Chief Rob Kirk, he said, and some days he wondered if it would get done, but a fire station was absolutely needed for the area.
Meyers said he wanted to thank the Widmer Family for selling their farm land to make the fire station possible, and they designated the building to them with the Widmer name displayed outside.
“Thank you for being good stewards of the property,” he said.
Meyers said it had been challenging to build a building during a Covid pandemic, and he didn’t recommend it.
“This area continues to grow, and we will build more fire stations as growth is booming all around us,” Meyers said. “We have to get ahead.”
Laura Kelly, Kansas governor, said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate after meeting the Wildland Task Force and Chief Morley.
“Their service expands beyond Southwest Johnson County,” she said.
The Wildland Task Force assisted with the wildfires in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas earlier this year.
“I want to commemorate the new chapter for Fire District 1,” she said.
Kelly said the fire district exemplified service before self and a stronger together attitude.
“The work you do is important, and it can’t be said enough,” she said. “You are an asset to the community and state.”
Paul Davis, Johnson county emergency services director, said he was pleased to be a part of the project and enhanced EMS protection for the area.
Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor, said he had been thinking a lot about the old days, and his time as a volunteer firefighter.
“We have enhanced ourselves immensely as a rural district,” he said. “I think enhancements for public safety are for the better-this is an outstanding achievement.”
Roberts said it was a great opportunity from where they were 40 years ago from very little to what everyone sees today.
Todd Winters, Gardner Mayor, said he was thrilled for the fire district and appreciated the partnership.
“The facility reflects and elevates services provided to the area,” he said. “You’re protecting us every day and a great partner to Gardner making our community stronger.”
Shirley Allenbrand, Johnson County 6th district commissioner, said the fire station was much needed and involved more than just a blueprint.
“It is a unique partnership, especially with the Med-Act staff,” she said.
Allenbrand said Southwest Johnson County was seeing rapid and immense growth and acknowledged the dedication and leadership of the community, especially Chief Meyers.
“Thank you all for your commitment and leadership,” she said. “It serves as a prime example of the county and a safer place to call home.”