The Wallowa City Council named Jack Edwards of the engineering firm of Edwards & Cummings of Ontario as the city's engineer for its proposed fire hall during the regularly scheduled April 8 meeting. Edwards, who had been working with the city prior to USDA Rural Development's rejection of the city's design/build bid approach to the project, is expected to have the plans drawn up this week.

Once the plans are in hand the council will hold an emergency meeting to gain official approval and submit them back to Rural Development in hopes of a quick endorsement and the commencement of construction of the long awaited six bay building.

Rural Development has given the city a $175,000 grant for a project expected to cost in the neighborhood of $200,000.

Edwards & Cummings, along with Anderson Perry & Associates of La Grande, had worked with the city to draft preliminary plans before it went out for a combination design/build bid for the project. Mike Becker Construction of La Grande was low bidder on the project at $196,308, but lost the contract when USDA Rural Development, claiming that the design portion had to be drawn up separately, vetoed the bid.

Paul Kershisnik of Rural Development's Pendleton office said that the design/build setback was only temporary and that the fire hall will be built in 2003.

The plans being drawn up will include space for unfinished rooms to house a fire chief's office, city hall and a conference room. They are to be finished at a later date when additional funds become available.

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