Supervisors Vote Not to Approve Burn Building Funding

   Written by on June 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm

By Crystal Vandegrift, Staff Writer

FARMVILLE – The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday night, voted unanimously not to grant a request to the Town of Blackstone for $15,665.

The request is to help pay for repairs to the Blackstone Burn Building.

According to the Town of Blackstone, they have been awarded a Virginia Fire Service Grant for the repair of the fire service training facility that is used by three counties: Nottoway, Dinwiddie, and Prince Edward. The grant will reimburse 36.2% of all expenses up to $61,230.00. In communications with the Southside Virginia Burn Building Commission, it is understood that the remaining 63.80% of expenses will be divided equally among the three counties. The estimated total project is $73,645. “We cannot execute and accept the grant until we receive a letter of commitment from each county for their individual share of $15,665,” said Blackstone Mayor William Coleburn, in a letter to Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett.

In years past, Prince Edward County Fire Departments have used the building in Blackstone for training but according to the county departments have not used it in at least four years. Currently, the Town of Farmville has a burn building that county fire departments are using; therefore, leaving no need to use the Blackstone building.

In December of 2001, the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted that the County’s $325,000 burn building grant allocation from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs be dedicated to a regional facility that was proposed to be built at Fort Pickett.

A Southside Virginia Burn Building Commission was established to manage the building, and its membership was comprised of representatives from the volunteer fire departments in those counties. Over the ensuing years, new departments joined the Commission and many of the original departments dropped their memberships. At last count, there seems to be about eleven remaining dues-paying member departments still participating, six of which were from Dinwiddie County.

During its May meeting of the Prince Edward Area Firefighters Association members also voted to withdraw their membership in the Southside Virginia Burn Building Commission and recommend that the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors discontinue investment in the Blackstone Burn Building.

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