The South Whitehall Commissioners on Wednesday approved for the Cetronia Ambulance Corps Joint Operations Facility at Broadway and Parkway roads.
The commissioners actually took two steps that were needed before the Cetronia Ambulance Corps plans can come to fruition.
First, the commissioners voted to subdivide a 96-acre Lehigh County-owned property to provide for a nine-acre parcel for the ambulance corps. Then, the commissioners voted to approve the subdivision plans for the ambulance corps project.
However, commissioners refused an ambulance corps request that the township waive a $47,398 parks, recreation and open space fee. Commissioner Glenn Block said it wouldn’t be fair to the applicants of other projects who previously paid the parks fee.
In addition, Block said, the township needs the money for open space preservation.
Commissioner David Bond abstained from any of the votes related to the Cetronia Ambulance Corps because he is a part-time employee of the organization.
The 75,000-square-foot Cetronia Ambulance Corps Joint Operations Facility will consist of three distinct areas.
One section will house and provide security for Cetronia Ambulance’s fleet and Lehigh County’s emergency vehicles and equipment. Cetronia Ambulance’s fleet includes 19 ambulances, 12 paratransit trucks, a supervisor’s vehicle, a medi-car and a fire rehab unit.
A second section will provide a regional educational center, offering community public health training programs to both the public and private sectors.
A third section will house offices for the Lehigh County coroner and staff.
The facility also will be capable of expanding Cetronia’s command center to assist in regional emergency operations.
Cetronia Ambulance Chief Executive Officer Larry Wiersch said in May that the collaboration between the county and the ambulance corps was in the planning stages for more than 30 years.
Cetronia Ambulance Corps received a $1.75 million allocation from the state under its Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
Prior to the commissioners meeting Wednesday, Caitlin Stibitz, marketing and public relations specialist for the Cetronia Ambulance Corps, said there still are some environmental permits that must be secured before groundbreaking can be scheduled. Consequently, Stibitz said, it appears that the groundbreaking won’t be scheduled until September or October.