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Commission chooses fire station location

A new McDuffie County Fire Station One will be built on the future eastern bypass - near its current location.

After months of discussion, the McDuffie County Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday in favor of locating the new station on land donated by long-time firefighter Paul Watson.

Commissioners had discussed the issue of where to put the new station since the Georgia Department of Transportation announced that the current Station One - on the corner of Harrison Road and Salem Road - was in the path of the new roadway.

Commission Chairman Charlie Newton asked the public safety committee to investigate the affects of locating the new station on possible future consolidation with the City of Thomson's fire department and on insurance ratings.

He felt that moving the station further southeast and allowing a city station to cover the unincorporated area near the current Station One would better serve the citizens of the county as a whole.

"It's not the end of the world either way," Chairman Newton said just prior to the vote. "I just think we're cutting our resources short in not moving that station out further."

On Tuesday night, the Public Safety Committee met and discussed the timeline of meetings and recommendations, and members officially heard Fire Chief Bruce Tanner's thoughts on the issue.

"It's my recommendation that we approve that site and go ahead with the discussions with the city on a drop-boundary agreement," he told the committee.

The Public Safety Committee presented that recommendation to the full commission because discussions with a representative from Insurance Services Office, Inc., revealed little to no benefit in coverage or insurance ratings, according to Chief Tanner.

Chairman Newton and Commissioner Bob Farr both voted against the recommendation, while Commissioners Fred Favors, Darrell Wester and Sammy Wilson voted for the location.

Mr. Wester, a member of the Public Safety Committee echoed his support of the plan during the pre-vote discussion.

"We did what we set out to do. We looked at every option," he said. "I've been shown no reason to move it from where we have it."

Chief Tanner and other officials will meet with J. Glenn Gregory, the architect hired to design Station One, to discuss plans for the station's layout on Jan. 10.



Web posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2006











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