ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Firefighters and community members welcomed the new Allendale Township Fire Station late Saturday morning.

A large group gathered at the new station for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new fire station is located near the intersection of Lake Michigan Drive and 68th Avenue. Erhardt Construction was the lead contractor on the project.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s not everyday departments get to open a new station. After today we can sit and do our jobs the way we need to,” Chief Mike Keef said.

The new station sits next to the old one, which Keef says didn’t have a living facility and was not handicap accessible.

Keef is proud to have a place where his staff can serve the community better.

It includes a women’s quarters, a training room, a gym, restrooms and lockers, a kitchen and ample amount of space to store trucks and other equipment.

“It’s built for a 24/7 service. At some point, we’ll be looking at that and it will decrease our response times. We put things in here that are going to invite the firefighters here more often. If they are in here more often, quicker response times are going to happen,” he said.

The station worked with Grand Valley State University and the Allendale Charter Township Downtown Development Authority to acquire funding.

“I’ve been here about 40 years and this is really exciting for me to see this come to fruition after a number of years of planning,” Deputy Chief Randy Bosch said.

The old Allendale Township Fire Station will be used for storage and for use by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.