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The project to construct a new Rensselaer County Emergency Services Training Tower will take a major step forward on Thursday with a ground-breaking ceremony for the project, County Executive Steve McLaughlin announced.

The ground-breaking ceremony will take place Thursday, July 8 at 10 a.m. at the training tower site on Macha Lane in North Greenbush. McLaughlin will be joined by county and local officials and leaders of the emergency services community. Members of the press are invited to attend, and parking provided for media.

The training tower project has been a focus for McLaughlin, who pledged to carry out the project when he sought the office of County Executive in 2017.

“Our fire and emergency services responders perform outstanding and valuable work every day for the people of Rensselaer County. We can never repay the debt owed to these brave and selfless men and women,” said McLaughlin.

“The county emergency services training tower will help train the next generation of fire and emergency services responders and help ensure our current training standards are met today. This is a proud moment for Rensselaer County and hopefully shows our appreciation for the work of our emergency services,” added McLaughlin.

“As a volunteer firefighter for over 40 years, I recognize the importance of training. The fire training tower is a major component of that training and it is definitely good news to see the new tower being constructed,” said Chair of the Legislature Mike Stammel.

The training tower had been closed for several years at the order of the previous administration due to structural instability. The tower structure was leveled in recent months.

The county received the final approval needed to start the project from the state Department of Environmental Conservation just days ago following a lengthy review.

The new facility will include a multi-story tower with a live-fire simulator, a two-story classroom, a smoke maze and other amenities.