The Crocker Fire Protection District has received word that they are the recipients of a $300,000 Community Block Grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The department received the news on Monday, and the Pulaski County Commission received the official paperwork on Thursday.

"What we got in the mail was from the Department of Economic Development, which is the funding approval for the Crocker Fire Protection District," Gene Newkirk, presiding commissioner, announced at the meeting. "You've been approved for $300,000 dollars if I see this right, and the total project is $661,000."

Josh Hall, public information officer and firefighter with the Crocker FPD, attended the meeting to witness the commissioners sign the document and gave them a brief update on what will happen from here.

The grant, along with another $361,000 in donations, contributions, in-kind matches and a loan, will pay for the construction of a new fire station for the district. The new building will be located in Crocker Park, near the pool, and Hall said the next step is an environmental study.

"It will probably take about three or four months for an environmental review and then we'll be able to start (construction)," he said.

Bill Farnham, Eastern District commissioner, congratulated Hall on the good news. "If this helps you guys save one life it's more than worth it."

"We're all here to protect the community," Newkirk added. "This is just one more step to protecting."

To apply for the grant, Hall, volunteer firefighters and additional volunteers, canvassed the Crocker FPD over several months to collect income information. The grant paperwork was put together by members of the district and members of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission.

"We had a lot of help," Hall said. "It was great. We're all excited. We're ready to get the ball rolling."

Hall said the new building will be centrally located, has ample room for training and will give the district a secure place to house their equipment.

"(This) is going to consolidate our two stations," he explained. "One station is too small, it only holds (a) certain height of trucks. One station is only one bay and only holds two trucks."

He said the grant helps provide the funds to build the new station, thereby relieving local residents of an increased tax to fund the construction.

"It will be a new, nice facility for our department and our community," Hall added. "It will just really boost our morale throughout the department."