Without a doubt, regionalization of emergency services is a great option for neighboring municipalities to control costs.

Share the burden, stop duplicating efforts, and everyone's single biggest expense becomes a bit more manageable.

It's a point of pride that York County has been a pioneer of this concept. The Northern York County Regional Police department was the first of its kind in the state back in the 1970s, as was the York Area United Fire and Rescue when it launched in 2008.

Growing pains in departments such as these are to be expected as other municipalities join.

So when York Area United -- which started with a merger between Spring Garden and Springettsbury townships and now includes Manchester and Mount Wolf boroughs -- said it needed a new fire station, it wasn't a shock.

The idea was to replace the Springettsbury Township fire station at 3013 E. Market St. with a new, approximately $4 million facility further east on Commons Drive near the 3600 block of East Market Street. The new station would also house the department's headquarters, now located at 3321 Whiteford Road.

The current Springettsbury station, built in 1958, lacks Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, does not meet Uniform Construction CoderequireMents and is not equipped to properly house new equipment.

Plus, combining the two the operations under one roof will save money throughout the regional department and decrease response times to the eastern part of Springettsbury Township, according to officials.


The price is high, but the reasoning is sound.

The problem is this now looks like it won't be a seamless transition. Far from it.

Officials now say the old station might close more than a year before the new station is finished.

In the meantime, officials say, they hope to have a fire truck in the eastern part of the township during daytime hours as firefighters perform inspections and fire prevention tasks. Another option is to work with businesses to create a "portable fire station."

But at night, Springettsbury Township's truck will likely be housed at one of the department's three other stations, such as the Victory Fire Station at 421 Wheaton St. in Spring Garden Township.

Springettsbury and fire department officials say there won't be a disruption of service, but this plan sounds like finger-crossing.

"We're doing a lot of planning," admitted Robert McCoy of York Area United Fire & Rescue.

With all due respect to everyone involved in a fine regional effort, this should have been figured out long ago.

It doesn't take a "perfect world," as McCoy lamented, to keep one fire station open until its replacement is built.

It takes common sense.