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New Johnson City fire station could be open by November

COREY SHOUN • Mar 17, 2007 at 1:33 AM

JOHNSON CITY - Johnson City residents in the Bristol Highway area should have the benefit of a new fire station later this year.

City Manager Pete Peterson told the City Commission during Thursday night's regular meeting that the station is slated to begin operation in November or December even though construction of the facility on a portion of Winged Deer Park along Carroll Creek Road has yet to begin.

Some commissioners wondered why the project was not under way since they had approved funding, included in a $7 million bond issue, last year as part of the current fiscal year's budget.

"We did not budget for any fire apparatus or fire personnel to staff that station," Peterson said. "There's no sense in opening a fire station if you don't have the people to staff it."

Included in the budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, which would begin on July 1, will be funding for 12 new firefighters and a new fire engine specifically for that station, Peterson said.

Those new firefighters would likely be hired this summer, he said.

"If we hire them in July, it's going to be late October or early November before they are finished with their school," Peterson said.

The actual cost of the station is expected to come in at around $1.2 million. The project is being funded through bonds that will also provide money for some road projects that are under way or will be in the near future.

Peterson said the design of the station will be "no frills or bells and whistles" and will turn out structurally and aesthetically similar to Station 1 (Watauga Road) and Station 6 (Browns Mill Court)."We've not given (architects) free rein, I assure you," Peterson said. "(Fire) Chief (Paul) Greene and I have tried to keep it to that $1 million figure."In addition, Peterson said state officials had cleared the use of a portion of Winged Deer Park to be used for the station. Requests for bid proposals for construction of the station are set to go out within the next two weeks.The Carroll Creek Road/Bristol Highway facility will be the ninth fire station in the city.

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