The city of Jamestown received its largest cash gift ever as part of its fundraising efforts for Ladder 1 used by the Jamestown Fire Department, according to Mayor Dwaine Heinrich.
Great River Energy presented the city with a symbolic check Saturday marking its contribution of $250,000 for the ladder truck fund. Heinrich proclaimed Feb. 13, 2021, as Great River Energy day in Jamestown in response to the contribution.
"We are proud to be here," said Al Christianson, director of business development and government affairs for GRE. "Since we came to Jamestown a dozen years ago we've been treated as partners. It made sense for GRE to be part of this."
GRE constructed and operates Spiritwood Station, a steam and electrical generating plant at Spiritwood, and is a partner with the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. in the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park, and operates Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, a fuel ethanol plant at the industrial park through a subsidiary.
Christianson said the ladder truck could ultimately be used at GRE's facilities at Spiritwood.
"But I hope only for training purposes," he said.
Jim Reuther, Jamestown fire chief, said the truck would be used anywhere in the region where there was a need during his comments thanking GRE for the donation.
A ladder truck owned by the state of North Dakota but used by the Jamestown Fire Department under a fire protection agreement with the North Dakota State Hospital failed in 2019. The state of North Dakota voided the fire protection agreement leaving the city of Jamestown scrambling to put together financing for a ladder truck.
In April 2020, the Jamestown City Council authorized ordering a new ladder truck at an estimated cost of $1 million. Costs were paid from the Fire Department's equipment replacement fund with a plan to reimburse that fund with public donations and a contribution from the state of North Dakota of $333,000 each. The donations and state funding would be used to replenish the equipment replacement fund to allow for future fire truck purchases as other equipment used by the department ages.
The contribution from GRE raises the amount raised from public donations to about $478,000 from at least 33 donors, according to Sarah Hellekson, city administrator.
Along with city officials, local members of the North Dakota Legislature were also on hand Saturday to thank GRE for the contribution for the ladder truck and the company's part in the local economy.
"We have a great state partnership with GRE," said Rep. Chet Pollert, R-Carrington and House majority leader. "We have an amendment drawn up (to fund the state of North Dakota contribution) and it will be going into the DHS (Department of Human Services) budget soon."
Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, thanked GRE for being part of the area business community.
"They are part of our community and they are not done doing great things," he said.
Heinrich said the city appreciates the contributions from the public and businesses in the region and the anticipated funding from the state of North Dakota.