By Timothy Bradfield
Workers soon will be putting the finishing touches on two new fire stations in Walker County. The facilities, which will replace existing ones, are scheduled to open next month.
"It's going to be real rewarding," county Fire Chief Randy Camp said of the planned ribbon cuttings.
Fire Station 11 is being relocated from Probasco Street in west LaFayette, Ga., to Old Mineral Springs Road. Chief Camp said that move has been a long time coming.
"We had looked for a site in that area ... for about four or five years, really, trying to find an ideal location," he said.
The top three reasons for the move, county officials said, are a better fire insurance rating, more square footage and a reduction in operating expenses.
The new station is "insulated above and beyond, and built to the higher standard that makes it more of a green facility," said county Coordinator David Ashburn, who's overseeing the construction projects.
When all is complete, the price tag of the new Fire Station 11 will be $350,000 to $400,000, with part of that money coming from a special purpose local option sales tax, officials said.
The second fire station getting a new home is No. 14 in Villanow, Ga. It will be moving about a half mile to the newly built East Armuchee Community Center and Fire Hall.
"It was decided to put the fire station in there, number one, because the fire station needed upgrading over what we had," Ashburn said.
County officials say the $1.7 million building, which mostly is being funded by SPLOST money, also will house a sheriff's office and a voting precinct.
Lisa Miller, who lives in rural Villanow, says she's excited about the addition to the area.
"(The building) can be used for so many different things for this community," she said.
"LaFayette's 20, 25 minutes away," she said. "It provides that whole city government - in a small way - for us right here, without having to travel."
Timothy Bradfield covers Walker County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.