RACELAND Saturday was a fun day at Raceland’s Fire Department with free Giovanni’s Pizza for the public and a brand new $300,000 fire truck with sirens roaring and lights flashing.
It’s known as a mini pump, but there was nothing mini about the excitement it created. Thanks to an AFG Grant from the federal government, the city only had to chip in $18,000 for the orange and black fire truck.
Raceland administrator Dustin Burchett said it isn’t the first time the city applied for the grant, but it is the first time the grant had been accepted.
“Good things happen. That sign up there, ‘With faith good things happen,'” Raceland fireman Nathaniel Miller said, referring to a sign a stone’s throw away down Chinn Street.
“The exciting thing about this is it shows the commitment. Our city’s modern upgrading everything to have better equipment to serve the community,” Burchett said. “Our deputy fire chief at the time, Tyler Bradley, was crucial in facilitating (the grant).”
Miller said, “it will be a big help to the department, smaller. It will get on the tight streets a lot easier. We just really appreciate it. It’s definitely a big change. We never really had anything like it around here very often.”
“This gives these men who are volunteers something to be proud of. You can see a next generation of ‘em out here, too. Not just them (firemen), the families, too,” Burchett said.
Raceland Elementary School second-grader Easton Archie seems to be a lock for being in that next generation of Raceland firemen. Archie was decked out in his own personalized Raceland Fire Department jacket with his name embroidered on it.
“Pretty cool,” Archie said of the snazzy looking orange and black fire truck. The fire department had it painted those colors, which are the school colors of the Raceland Rams.
Archie thinks the incredible new truck will help in recruiting new Rams, saying, “we’re going to have a lot more football players next year.”
Archie’s dad, RD Archie, is a Raceland fireman and he may have to take his son for a cruise. “I would like to take a ride in it,” young Archie said. Six firemen can ride inside the fire truck, so Easton may be able to take a few friends along for a ride.
“This will make our fourth. We have a pickup truck, two engines and the mini pump,” Fire Chief Nate Hamilton said. “We have another one coming, a full size truck coming to the city next year. Full size, it will be the same color.”
Hamilton and his firemen are ecstatic about the new technology. With just the flip of a switch they can release foam and water to put out fires. It takes longer with the current fire trucks at RFD to do that.
There are more great things on the way as well.
“We bought a few new buildings. We just tore down the original city building and the original jail,” Mayor Eddie Cumpton said.
“We got our splash coming in. We have a brand new bathroom and a concession stand is going to be built,” Burchett said of changes at the city park just across the street.
“We have a wonderful partnership on the original racetrack. That property, which is about 17 acres, is up for sell right now where the original jockey house is,” Burchett added. “I’ve met with the secretary of the economic cabinet. I’ve met with our local reps.”
Raceland was a horse track that was in business from 1924-1928 when Raceland was still known as Chinnville. It was founded by Jack O. Keene who later opened Keeneland in 1936, a popular horse track in Lexington. In its heyday huge crowds would assemble at Raceland with many horse riding fans riding trains from Cincinnati, Lexington, Huntington and other cities. The 1.5 mile track was known as the “Million Dollar Oval” because of its ornate appearance. The track was just a few tenths of a mile west of where the current Raceland High School football field is.