SAUBLE TWP. — Fire services for the northeast part of Lake County will be improved with a new central fire station for the Sauble, Elk and Eden (SEE) Fire Department.

Currently, the fire department operates out of two stations, one in Irons and the other in Sauble Township, but both buildings have outgrown their ability to house additional fire apparatuses and equipment, and managing two different fire stations has been difficult, officials said.

On Dec. 18, at the SEE fire board meeting, board members approved the first step in the process by contracting with architect Kendra Thompson, of Manistee, for a preliminary schematic design in the amount of $5,000.

The building committee identified funds to get started with a CD (certificate of deposit) of $15,749 which matures in October, designating the CD as a building fund.

“Based on my knowledge, the CD is not a specific fund, it is just there,” said Lou Fitz, Elk Township Supervisor and representative to the township on the fire board.

Thompson is looking forward to helping the SEE Fire Department begin the process, which she will begin in mid-January.

“I am just finishing the city of Ludington fire station,” she said to board members. “I recommend you take the process in little steps, the first being a preliminary design phase.  It is a process and I am here to help guide you.”

The department is still looking for property to house the new station.

“We can serve people best at a central location with room to grow,” Fitz said.

Also at the meeting, the board authorized purchasing a 2019 tanker, Pierce model, not to exceed $300,000.