Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Build a Lee Hill fire station or move forward with constructing a new facility for Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue on Rt. 3?
Supervisor Benjamin Pitts questioned Fire and Rescue Chief Chris Eudailey about why the county’s 5-year Capital Improvements Plan has funding to replace the Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue station on Rt. 3 with a new one in the same vicinity at a cost of $5.4 million, instead of building a station in Lee Hill, where one does not exist.
Pitts said the lack of a station in the Lee Hill area is the primary reason why the new combined fire-rescue station 4 off Falcon Drive is the busiest in the county.
The CIP includes funding to purchase land for a Lee Hill station, but construction would not take place until after July 2014. The replacement station for Chancellor is to be constructed sometime after July 2011 or possibly sooner; possibly later (CIPs never seem to work as planned).
Pitts wondered if it would be a better idea to build a new station where a need exists instead of replacing a station that already exists.
Eudailey said he did not disagree with Pitts’ concern.
Here is the problem: if the CIP is changed to move the Lee Hill station ahead of the replacement station for Chancellor, the county will need to staff that new station.
Chancellor already staffs the Rt. 3 station. When it is replaced, the career members and volunteers who work in that station will just move to the new one.
But if a brand new station is built in Lee Hill, Eudailey said he’d have to hire more career members to staff it. Either that, or the volunteers would have to find a way to staff it, which is unlikely. He’ll probably have to hire new career members just to staff a Lee Hill station during the weekdays.
Eudailey tried in 2008 to hire career members to staff around the clock the new station 10 on Gordon Road, but supervisors turned him down and told him to better use the volunteer resources. That would have been the first station in the county with career members staffing it around the clock, with some volunteers at night.
Chancellor volunteers are staffing station 10 at nights and on weekends.
Will Pitts still push to change the CIP anyway to get a station for the Lee Hill area?