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Plan for Southbury Ambulance Digs OK'd

By: Chris Gardner
Waterbury Republican-American

9, 2006

SOUTHBURY- A former Roman Catholic Church rectory will be converted to an ambulance headquarters under a plan approved Tuesday night by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Southbury Ambulance Association will buy Sacred Heart Church's former rectory at 68 George's Hill Road as early as December, said Henry Velthuizen, association president. Then it will knock down a three-car garage and replace it with a 3,967-square-foot garage large enough for eight ambulances.

Workers also will carve out office, meeting, storage, and training space in the rectory building, which is about 3,700 square feet.

Velthuizen expects work to be done by the spring so the association can move from the house it rents on Main Street South between Walgreens and Denmo's.

"We'll make it our own versus what we have now, which is not ours," he said.

He is aware people have 15 days from Tuesday to appeal the board's decision at Waterbury Superior Court, but hopes the acquisition and construction process will not be delayed.

Some neighbors feared sirens and other noise after dark would keep them awake, or that the association will use up well water in the area. Velthuizen said the organization and its members will be good neighbors.

He said the building's location within a quarter mile of Exit 14 off Interstate 84 will be an asset to the community. It means the ambulance can use the highway to get to calls on the east side of town instead of battling congestion on Main Street South.

Also, the ambulances will be safely stored inside a garage instead of being left outside all the time. The association owns two ambulances now, but will expand its fleet to three next year.

The association will pay the church $875,000 for the 4.3-acre site and two buildings.

Velthuizen has said it will borrow some money to pay for the property.

The association responds to all medical calls in Southbury, except in Heritage Village and Southbury Training School, which have their own services. It is comprised of volunteers, but pays emergency medical technicians from Campion Ambulance in Waterbury to cover some shifts, mostly during the day when volunteers are out of town at work.