Groveland will have a new ambulance station by early fall.

Ground breaking ceremonies took place Thursday morning for a 2,949-square-foot station, just a block away from the current temporary station on Powder House Road.

On hand were several paramedics who will work in the new station. They were excited about the prospects for a new home.

"This community has been awesome in their support for us," said paramedic Amy Harte. "There is a large group of people who care deeply about Groveland and they made this happen."

Among those deserving credit is Mary Laveroni, who has lived in Groveland continually since 1934. Descendants of her late husband, George, settled in Groveland in the 1850s from Italy, and owned property all along what is now Highway 120. She still lives in the family home just a short distance away from the medical clinic and new ambulance station.

The property, held in a trust that is also part of Adventist West Hospitals, was part of long range plans to expand the Groveland Medical Clinic. According to Tuolumne County Supervisor Mark Thornton, Laveroni played a pivotal role in negotiations with the county and the hospital giant to free up a portion of their expansion area for the ambulance building.

Laveroni and her sister, Octavia Lefman, were on hand for inaugural shovel digs Thursday morning, and all present gave them a round of applause for their help in making the new station a reality.

Thornton also relayed a bit of history about ambulance service in Groveland.

"The first ambulance was a railcar," Thornton told the group. "When Boise Cascade built Pine Mountain Lake in the 1960s, the ambulance service was a station wagon with a flashing red light on top. Then in the 1980s a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into finding money for the new station from people in this community.

"Now we will have it."

Money for the new $532,000 ambulance station came from a special property tax assessment established in the 1980s, said Maureen Frank, senior administrative analyst with Tuolumne County. Operating expenses will come from ambulance service fees.