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NRAD finding comfort in new digs on Hwy. 92
by Jalana Robinson
Landmark reporter

The crew of the Northland Re-gional Ambulance District is settling into a new home with a lot more space and commodities along Hwy. 92 near Eggen's Hardware in Platte City.

The NRAD operation officially moved out of its downtown Platte City location on Friday and relocated into a spacious 4,800 square foot building that includes a three part garage, three bedrooms, a living area, kitchen area, two offices and one large main office.

"It's nice to be out of downtown and have the space," said office manager Cheryl Youtsey.

NRAD Executive Director Bill Bishop said the relocation project had been an idea since April of 1997 and really started to unfold in April of 2000.

"We did not have to go to the taxpayers for more money to do it," said Bishop, and that's something of which he's really proud.

According to Bishop, land developer Bill Mann, donated half the cost of the land to the ambulance district, making their price for the land about $160,000 rather than a full $300,000.

Bishop said that they could not have built the building on the location with the funds they had without the donation, especially since the building itself cost approximately $430,000.

"It's a super facility," Bishop said. "We were a traffic hazard in downtown Platte City."

He said that NRAD had been located on Main Street since Sept. 1, 1994. At that time it was going to be temporary headquarters, but temporary turned into permanent.

Having more room, privacy and parking are just some of the benefits of the new location.

"It was hard having crews work where there weren't any windows or ventilation," said Bishop.

The access to I-29 and 92 Hwy. for the ambulances is something Bishop and Youtsey both recognize as one of the most important benefits.

The crew also has additional room to do training exercises and hold meetings in the third garage.

Future goals for Bishop are to provide more services.

He believes it would be in the residents' and the district's best interest to have staff located in northern Platte County, and to serve portions of southern Platte County.

Kansas City Metropolitan Ambulance Services Trust, (MAST), is a private for profit division that currently serves parts of southern Platte County.

Bishop says that NRAD is a public safety department that receives tax subsidies to provide services, so they don't have to worry about making a profit.

Therefore, he feels that areas such as Parkville, Weatherby Lake and Riverside could be better served by NRAD.

According to Bishop, all it would take to annex that portion would be a petition and a vote.
He said that Platte County has a lot of elderly residents on fixed incomes that have to have special payment plans and that he is always willing to work with them because he's not in it to make a profit.

"They (MAST) do a tremendous job, but I think we can do better," Bishop said.
Centered on patient care and willingness to work with anybody makes Bishop believe that he can do better.

Currently NRAD has 12 full-time employees and 10 to 12 part-time employees; two ambulances in its new facility in Platte City; and two ambulances in Smithville that can respond to 340 square miles of Platte County.

"We're people helping people, that's our mission," said Bishop.

Bishop said that right now everything is going as scheduled, if not a little ahead of schedule.
To save confusion all the phone numbers have remained the same at the new location.