COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) – A $20-million public safety training facility is one step closer to reality in Chester County, Pa., thanks to a grant from a nonprofit organization that works to better the health and wellbeing of that community.

Even though it’s one of the fastest growing counties in the state, Chester County is still without a facility to train first-responders.

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The plan has been on the books for several years, but a downturn in the economy has seen financial support for the project take a hit.

The facility has now taken a big step forward with a $600,000 grant from the Brandywine Health Foundation.

“Now, firefighters, police, EMS workers, volunteers — they’ll all be able to train together with real-world scenarios and the latest equipment,” says Brandywine Foundation president and CEO Frances Sheehan (third from left in photo).

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The training facility will be located on land acquired from the Arcelor Mittal steel company, in South Coatesville.  Renovations are expected to begin next month, with training classes up and running by next fall.

They still need to raise another $2.9 million.  When completed, the complex will include an academic building; “burn,” “smoke,” and “drill tower” buildings to train firefighters; a police firing range; a hazmat training area; and areas for simulating vehicle rescues.

Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060

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