More than 30 residents of the Four Seasons Community attended a meeting Saturday morning at the Bright Hill United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall to learn more about plans for a fire hall in their neighborhood.
Fifth District County Commissioner Anita Puckett organized the meeting to give residents a chance to express their ideas and ask questions. County Fire Chief Donny Green, Fifth District County Commissioner Jerry Adcock, and County Mayor Tim Stribling also shared information.
Two years ago the county commission voted to acquire property, a little more than an acre in size, near the intersection of Four Seasons Road and Young Green Road for the future home of the fire station. Last year the county commission set aside $25,000 as seed money and $50,000 was included in this year’s budget for a total of $75,000 toward the project.
During the community meeting Saturday morning, Puckett said she wanted the attendees to vote by paper ballot on what type of facility they would like to see, either just a stand alone fire hall, or a combination fire hall/community center. She handed out slips of paper for them to write down their preferences.
Of those voting, twenty persons favored the combination fire hall/ community center while nine opted for just a fire hall.
Although the final decision on the type of structure to be built is left to the county commission, Puckett plans to push for the combination fire hall/ community center to honor the wishes of those at the meeting Saturday.
While it does not double as a community center, Puckett said the Austin Bottom Community fire station could serve as a model for the new fire hall at Four Seasons and the community center portion could be similar to the Keltonburg facility. “I have toured the Austin Bottom Fire Station which was built in 2008. I really like the layout of that. It is a metal frame building. And the front part of the (new fire hall) building which would face Four Seasons Road could be our community center with maybe a brick front layout. The community center could serve a dual function. Our fire fighters would be able to use it for their conferences or any type of training they may need to do and our residents would also be able to rent out space in it for family or community events,” she said.
While no firm plans are in place on the size of the building, Puckett envisions the facility to be approximately 100’ x 60’ and she would like to see it completed and ready for use by Memorial Day. “Hopefully we’ll have a lot of people pitch in and donate their time, especially on weekends, to make this happen . I am calling them my “Weekend Warriors”. We have engineers, architects, electricians, and others in our community and we want them to help us get this project launched and moving forward,” she continued.
As for funding, Puckett said she believes the facility can be built with monies already committed. “ We already have some sizeable donations and more fundraisers could be held. The Austin Bottom Fire Hall was built in 2008 and it costs $62,000. This structure is not going to be too much larger than that. I really think $75,000 is going to be close to what we need. I really feel like we can do it for that,” said Puckett.
Fifth District Commissioner Jerry Adcock, who was on the county commission when funds were first allocated for the project, said he too is happy to support this effort. “In 2014 we (county commission) put some seed money in there and this year we added more seed money. I think we’re ahead of the game . I don’t know if it will be ready by Memorial Day but within the next year,”said Adcock.
In order to staff the new fire station, more volunteers will be needed and the county will have to make arrangements to obtain a fire truck for it. The county currently has eleven fire stations.