PALMER LAKE, Colo. (KRDO) -- A town hall meeting had many residents and town trustees overwhelmed with emotion Thursday night. The meeting began at 6p.m., not wrapping until nearly 10p.m.
Originally, there were reports surveys would be handed out to attendees, proposing options regarding the existing fire station.
Later, it was learned two competing sureys had been drawn up. Neither survey was handed out. Instead, residents and trustees shelved the entire process, as the meeting eventually devolved into yelling by some, with one trustee name calling and storming out of the town hall abruptly.
One of the surveys, given to KRDO by town trustee, Glant Havenar, proposed 3 different options for the town moving forward.
But for now, the surveys have been shelved until after the New Year. Check back for updates.
On Thursday night, for the second time this year, a Palmer Lake Town Council meeting will adjourn to discuss the future of the volunteer fire department.
The station, built in 1935, is crumbling and doesn't meet modern standards.
A committee of citizens and two town council members want, at least, to keep the station and turn it into a museum.
"It's on our historic preservation list," said Shana Ball, a committee member and former town firefighter. "It's possible that we could renovate it for use but we don't know how expensive that would be."
One councilman prepared a public survey asking voters to choose between having a neighboring department -- the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District -- take over fire and emergency medical services, or building a new fire station near the existing location.
The committee, however, added another option of combining the police and fire departments into one new building.
"That is what the committee favors -- but really, what we need to know is what the citizens favor," Ball said. "We will build a plan for whatever the citizens want the most. And we'll support it."
Ball said the estimated cost of a new building is between $1.5 million and $1.7 million. One option includes providing the fire and police departments with more personnel and training.
Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O'Malley's Pub in town, recently reopened after a fire destroyed his kitchen. He wants the fire department to continue operating.
"It's five minutes away and they had a five-minute response time," he said. "That saved the rest of my pub. We're for the local fire department, for many reasons. The fire department has a great tradition here and also does a lot of things in town, a lot of community events."
But Gary Atkins, who has lived in Palmer Lake for more than 40 years, said keeping the department would be impractical.
"I feel that we can't afford to build a new fire station and man it with professional fire people who are professionally trained," he said. "We don't have the tax base for it, and there aren't enough calls for service to justify having our own department."
Some of the options include hiring a fire chief -- the town hasn't had one in two years -- and buying an ambulance.
The fire department had three full-time firefighters, three part-time and 15 volunteers.
The police department has two full-time officers and five part-time volunteers.