The kitchen in the Fort Dodge firehouse had remained largely unchanged in the decades since the building opened in 1966.
Change has now arrived in a big way.
A complete transformation of the room is under way, and CJ Bio America is paying the $19,000 bill.
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson-Jenson
Fort Dodge firefighters Jason Vandi, left, and Nathan Simmons work on constructing the studs for a wall that will go up in the remodeled kitchen area at the Fort Dodge fire station.
''Part of the foundation of the company is to take care of those who take care of the rest of us and those that can't take care of themselves,'' said Luke Palmer, the company's general affairs manager.
He said the company is paying for new appliances and all the needed building materials. Firefighters are doing most of the remodeling work.
''I think it's great,'' said Mayor Matt Bemrich. ''It shows that even though CJ is out in the county's jurisdiction, they're still willing to help the citizens of Fort Dodge and their public safety.''
''We have a lot of great corporate citizens that contribute to things like trails on a regular basis, but to get a gift of this size for public safety is rare,'' he added.
Police officers and sheriff's deputies are already benefitting from $7,000 worth of chairs CJ Bio America purchased for the Law Enforcement Center, 702 First Ave. S.
Palmer said the company bought 60 chairs with padded seats and 32 office chairs.
He said he went through the kitchen when he and his children previously toured the firehouse at 1515 Central Ave. He could tell that it could use some updates, and he also knew the city government has more critical things on which to spend tax dollars.
CJ Bio America, which is building an amino acid plant in the North Central Ag Industrial Park west of the city, wants to contribute to the community, according to Palmer. He proposed a firehouse kitchen project to company executives.
''They were thrilled to death with the idea,'' he said.
After weeks of planning, the remodeling began last Monday when firefighters started taking apart the old cabinets. By Wednesday, they were gone. The new cabinets and appliances are expected to be delivered on Monday.
The new chairs at the Law Enforcement Center resulted from a tour Police Chief Tim Carmody gave Palmer. He said during that tour he saw hardwood chairs in a basement classroom that officers sometimes had to sit on for six to eight hours. He also spotted old office chairs held together with tape.