Florence [Ohio] dedicates new firehouse, 9/11 Memorial

By Melissa Stewart The Community Recorder

Jim Ransdell stands with the 9/11 Memorial he designed. (Photo: Melissa Stewart/The Community Recorder)

Jim Ransdell stands with the 9/11 Memorial he designed. (Photo: Melissa Stewart, The Community Recorder)

FLORENCE – Fire Station No. 3 has been “long planned and much needed,” according to Florence Mayor Diane Whalen.

“This station provides better access and response time,” she said.

The new firehouse, a three-bay fire station with sleeping quarters, a kitchen, a workout area and a day room, has been in the works for several years, Whalen said.

A ribbon ceremony to officially open the station on Ted Bushelman Boulevard and the dedication of a 9/11 Memorial on the site took place on Sunday.

The location of the new station is convenient to the city’s retail corridors and offers quick access to Interstate 71/75 via Turfway Road. The newly constructed Aero Parkway also provides an alternative to Burlington Pike for neighborhoods south and west of the station.

“We’re very pleased to have this facility,” Councilman Mel Carroll said. “It will improve both the safety of our citizens and the working conditions of our fire department. It will provide service for decades to come.”

The Florence Fire Department has two other stations on Industrial and Weaver roads. The original Main Street location, staffed by volunteers, closed with the opening of the new station. Volunteers will now work side by side staff firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The department has 60 employees and about 25 volunteers.

Also in the works for quite some time was the 9/11 Memorial, Fire Chief Marc Muench said. A dedication of the 9/11 Memorial that hangs outside the station was also held July 6. A few years ago the department secured a piece of steel from Ground Zero to incorporate in a memorial, honoring all the lives lost, especially the 343 firefighters and 15 [sic] emergency medical technicians.

The day, Muench said, “brought out some of the most courageous acts.”

The memorial depicts the image of the sun rising between Twin Towers with a piece of steel hanging below for visitors to touch and reflect upon that day. The image was designed by Boone County resident Jim Ransdell who owns The Kentucky Shop in Florence. The city held a contest for the design.

“For inspiration I looked at different images on the web that spoke about the feelings of the day,” Ransdell said. “I tried to capture the hope that arose from this tragedy. The sun between the towers speaks to that.”

Ransdell, who has a background in graphics design, said he is honored that his design was selected.

“I’m proud to have something I made be forever in my city.”

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