ANDOVER – Persistence pays – to the tune of $237,500.

Fire Chief Ken Dixon learned Wednesday that his Fire Department will receive that amount of money to pay for a new fire engine.

He’s been trying for years to get a grant to replace the department’s 30-year-old Howe custom pumper. Now, it’s all up to voters when they attend the annual town meeting March 15. They must raise a 5 percent match: $12,500.

Dixon said the department has been fortunate to receive money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to buy radio and technical rescue equipment over the years, but receiving money for a new pumper has been elusive.

“We’ve filed a grant every other year,” he said.

The old pumper was bought out of New Jersey as a 10-year-old vehicle.

He’s been working with three fire truck manufacturers to devise proposals for the new pumper. He said the purchase will likely go out to bid, with a delivery date early next year, providing voters OK the match. The grant application was filed last April.

“We’re very pleased,” the 22-year fire chief said of the grant.

The Andover department has about 25 volunteer firefighters.

The money for fire departments in Maine comes through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, according to a news release issued by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office.

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