Posted: Tuesday, September 17th 2013 at 12:15pm
Hall County starts work on two new fire stations
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – The construction of two new, and long overdue, fire stations is underway in northwest Hall County.
"All I can say is, 'It's about time.'," declared Hall County District 2 Commissioner Billy Powell. "This is a SPLOST V project that has been on the books for, gosh, many years. We weren't able to build it because we didn't have the money to operate it."
Powell was speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony on Ledan Extension at its intersection with Will Wallace Road. The new facility built here will allow for the relocation of Station 3, currently squeezed into an outdated structure tucked away on Short Road at Price Road
A second groundbreaking ceremony will be held in two weeks for a new station at the intersection of Shirley and Mt. Vernon Roads.
Moving Station 3 to its new location will provide fire services within five miles to hundreds of homeowners who are now outside of a five-mile perimeter from a fire station. "With the relocation of the one currently on Short Road this will now include a significant number of those residents outside a five mile ring...(and) that will significantly drop their insurance premiums," Powell added.
Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell referenced a recent fire that totally destroyed a 15,000 square-foot home on September 7th and how this new location would have allowed fire fighters faster response time to the Grant Ford Road location.
(Kimbrell says his department considers that fire to be arson related and a reward has been offered for information in that investigation. Click here to read more about that offer.)
"That station (Station 3) was built as a temporary fire station to start us off and plopped down to cover large areas of the county," Kimbrell explained. "Here we are since 1970 to now and we are still in that temporary fire station."
Ken Reardon, Director of Public Works and Utilities, said the cost of the two stations was estimated at $2.6 million, with the Ledan Extension facility scheduled to be completed in April of 2014.
"We've improved a little bit on these stations," Reardon said, "to have the fire fighters have more storage area for their equipment."
Chief Kimbrell reinforced Reardon's statement. "Because the building is so small (at Station 3 on Short Road) some of our equipment won't actually fit in there."
Kimbrell went on to explain that the new station to be built at Shirley and Mt. Vernon Roads will sit on 4.16 acres. Groundbreaking for it is scheduled on October 2nd.
Kimbrell also addressed considerations to install a traffic-control device at that intersection, saying he did not think one would be necessary. "Mt. Vernon is a fairly heavily travelled road but there is a considerable amount of sight distance, so we feel like right now that we should be able to get in and out okay."
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