MEXICO – After seven years of planning and a year of construction, Med-Care Ambulance Services celebrated the completion of its new building Thursday afternoon with an open house, ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours.
Med-Care Director and Chief Dean Milligan said this month marks the service’s 25th year, making the grand opening “fitting.”
Town Manager John Madigan told residents that the new $1.7 million building was “the finest example of how towns can work together to do something positive for the community.
“This shows everybody that we can provide the best possible service by coming together, at a cost that is five or six times less than if we would have done it individually,” he said. “It was made possible because we worked together.”
Plans for the new station at 290 Highland Terrace began in 2006, after the old building on Main Street was found to not be in compliance with safety codes, Milligan said.
The new building is twice the size of the old one, with four bays for emergency vehicles, a living space for employees and a storage area.
Milligan said Med-Care had to decide whether to pour “several hundred thousand dollars into renovations, which would still not have made the building completely compliant,” or move to a new location.
“There were a lot of times when the existence of the project was in jeopardy, and even times when it seemed like Med-Care itself would be in jeopardy,” he told the several dozen people in attendance. “However, cooler heads prevailed, and we were able to purchase the property next to the credit union and get it completed.”
Milligan thanked Paul Augusten, a Phillips architect who helped design the building and worked on the project since 2006.
“Paul worked tirelessly on this project, and is one of the key reasons that this facility is standing here right now,” he said. “In fact, Paul retired and moved to New Mexico recently, which is why he can’t be here today, but he was so personally indebted to this project that he stayed on with us after he retired to see the project through. He told me that he couldn’t imagine a better project to end his career with.”
Among the others Milligan thanked were Med-Care Board of Directors President Steve Brown for being a “great mentor, boss and role model;” Treasurer Jim Pulsifer, for his “financial leadership;” Rich Allen, vice president of commercial lending at Franklin Savings Bank, for “stepping up to the plate, taking what others considered to be a risk and helping us out.”
He also thanked the board of directors for “spending countless hours working on the project,” and his wife, Laurieann Milligan, administrative assistant and outreach coordinator for Med-Care, who he said “was there to keep me on a positive track.”
Samantha Noyes said she and rest of the Oxford Federal Credit Union staff found it exciting to watch the progress on the new building over the course of a year.
“On behalf of the staff here, welcome to the neighborhood,” Noyes said with a smile.
Med-Care serves the towns of Andover, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Hanover, Mexico, Newry, Peru, Roxbury and Rumford.
Ben Tucker, a representative of U.S. Sen. Angus King, said it was amazing to see a service “that covers 550 square miles and helps a population of 17,000 people.
“This is a perfect example of Mainers pulling together,” Tucker said. “It’s something that we should all be proud of.”