After many years of dreaming and planning, and three years of hands-on work, the New Milford Community Ambulance building is ready for use.

The spacious new facility on the corner of Housatonic Avenue and Aspetuck Ridge Road opens its doors Friday, Aug. 13, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.

The many volunteers who made the 10,000-square-foot ambulance building, affectionately called a barn, a reality are to be commended, as is the community for its support.

There are many pluses.

Nearly three years ago, in October 2007, townspeople voted in a referendum to spend as much as $3.75 million for a new, and very much needed, ambulance building.

The community ambulance organization had been operating since the 1970s in a former Civil Defense and Public Works Department building on Young's Field Road that had become outdated, cramped and inefficient.

The new building has much to recommend it, both for the ambulance organization and the community.

The building includes a decontamination area for the crew, a cafeteria, separate bunk rooms for men and women, a three-bay garage and -- a bonus for New Milford -- a meeting room that can be used by the public.

While any community can rightfully take pride in the completion of a necessary project, New Milford should be extra pleased with this one. In a dramatic show of good faith, the volunteer ambulance organization has offered to repay the town for construction costs.

They can do this through fees now charged for emergency services, primarily paid by insurance coverage.

The community truly benefits in many ways from the new facility. And so will the ambulance organization.

The new, modern facility may very well attract more volunteers to the 80-year-old group, which presently has about 60 volunteers. About 35 of them respond to night and weekend calls; a two-person paid staff covers weekdays.

We congratulate the New Milford Community Ambulance Corp. on the completion of its new facility and the opening of a new chapter in the organization's long history serving the needs and health of the community.