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CHAPEL HILL, NC – The Chapel Hill Town Council will vote in June whether to approve a new fire station and office complex on 54 East.

The new fire station and four story office building will be located on South Hamilton Road across from the Aloft Hotel. The council discussed the project at their meeting Monday.

The project is a partnership between the town and East-West Partners. In February, the town council agreed to sell the land, where Fire Station 2 is currently located, to the development group.

In return East-West Partners will construct an office building, as well as a fire station, which the town will lease. The town will only pay up to $750,000 of the $3 million construction costs for the station.

Map of current Chapel Hill Fire Stations at FDmaps.com

The town has agreed to lease the land from East-West Partners for $1 a year for the next 500 years.

The transfer of the property to East-West Partners will add $42,000 of tax revenue, according to Chapel Hill town manager Roger Stancil. Currently the property is untaxed.

The town also considering housing an EMT unit at the fire station.

Matt Sullivan, interim fire chief, said the new facility would help emergency services better serve the community.

“I think this is a good deal for the town, I think it’s good for our employees. It’s situated in a place where we know that public safety services are going to be needed in the future,” said Sullivan.

For the project to go ahead, the council still needs to approve a land use amendment as well as approve a final development and business agreements, which Sullivan said are being finalized.

According to Bryson Powell, development director for East-West Partners, they are still in the process of finding office tenants.

East-West Partners will present their final design plan the town’s Community Design Commission on May 24.

The town council will revisit the project at its meeting on June 13.

Original Article

 

WATAUGA COUNTY – Boone Fire Department is making progress on a third fire station in the Bamboo area, aiming to improve efficiency and ensure equality throughout the district.

Aside from offering better fire protection to east Boone residents, the construction of a third station may help homeowners lower their insurance rates, said Chief Jimmy Isaacs.

Since the fire department purchased the roughly 0.8-acre property in February for $210,000, the building’s transition from residential home to fire station has been steady.

“We started looking at a third station about five years ago,” Isaacs said. “One reason that finding property took so long was because we just had a very, very narrow window that we could put that station in and meet the required purpose.”

Like other fire districts statewide, Boone is rated on a one to 10 scale based on an array of factors, including the location of the stations, equipment availability, access to water supplies and quality of communication systems.

Within Boone town limits, property owners enjoy designation as a public protection class three, Isaacs said, while any properties within five miles of a station are rated class five.

Between five and six miles from a station, properties are noted as class nine, and those outside six miles are rated class 10, resulting in “exorbitant rates for insurance,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs said a small portion of Boone’s district was within that least favorable class designation, including portions of Heavenly Mountain and George Hayes Road.

“This station will do away with all the protection class 10 within the Boone fire district,” Isaacs said.
After looking for property off and on for about four years, the fire department finally settled on a home and land on Buchanan Street off Bamboo Road, not far from Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

Isaacs said small-scale demolition within the house began in March. Walls have been moved, new heating and sprinkler systems are being installed and remodeling is under way.

About a month ago, crews demolished the attached garage to make room for an expanded space with three truck bays. Cinderblocks continued to be delivered Tuesday to begin fleshing out the garage skeleton starting this week.

Isaacs said the goal is to contain costs while ensuring the station’s appearance meshes well with the residential area where it is located.

Funding for the project will come from the rural fire tax, Isaacs said. The garage addition is expected to cost about $350,000. Other costs include remodeling work inside, the purchase of a new engine to be delivered in November or December, and the hiring of one new staff position, he said.

“The main thing that we’re trying to do here was make sure people were seeing a return on their fire tax,” Isaacs said. “Yeah, we’re having to spend some money, but hopefully that will see a return.”

When all is completed, Boone Fire Station 3 will host one tanker, one engine and one pickup truck utility vehicle and will be staffed by one person at all times, Isaacs said.

Isaacs said he hopes the work will be completed by the start of 2014, and residents should begin seeing benefits immediately in their homeowners’ insurance.

“We’ve had some people experience a significant drop. We’ve had people see a minimal drop,” Isaacs said. “It just all depends on who the insurance carrier is.”

Watauga County Fire Marshal Steve Sudderth noted that Boone will be the first department in the county to have three stations. Blowing Rock and Foscoe both have two sites.

“Anytime they build a new station, I’m excited for it,” Sudderth said.

IREDELL COUNTY – Firefighting efforts in southern Iredell will get a big boost when the spacious new fire station of the South Iredell Volunteer Fire Department opens next summer.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the 14,800-square-foot building are Sunday at 3 p.m. at the corner of Linwood and Brumley roads, just southeast of Mooresville. The public is welcome.

Deputy Chief Brian Weatherman of the SIVFD said the new station has been in the planning stages for five years. “We’re hoping to begin construction on Sept. 16 and have it completed by the middle of July of next year,” he said.

Weatherman said the new station will cost $1.9 million, funded by the countywide fire tax.

The new building will be a quarter- to a half-mile from the current SIVFD station, which will be closed when the new building opens.

“It’s too small, and we’ve outgrown it,” Weatherman said. “There are no living quarters, or office space, and the building is not up to code.”

Currently there are 30-35 members on the department’s roster, operating out of a 5,000-square-foot building that has only two drive-through bays for fire trucks. Weatherman said the department has seven trucks and one car, leaving six vehicles to be parked outside.

The new station will have five truck bays, living quarters, office space, and a community/meeting room. It will also contain a dayroom, two kitchens, bathrooms, laundry room, and a workout room.

“It will be a bigger station and we’ll be able to provide a better service for the community and eventually have 24-hour coverage out of it,” Weatherman said. “Most weekends we have that now, but we can certainly provide that with a bigger station.”

morrisville-sta-1

MORRISVILLE – Here’s a photo of the new Morrisville Fire Rescue Station 1 located at 200 Town Hall Drive.

The station replaced one located at Chapel Hill Road (Highway 54) and Morrisville Carpenter Road.

The new station was occupied in March of 2012.

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