Perry breaks ground on long-awaited $1.2 million fire station

bpurser@macon.comOctober 9, 2012 

PERRY -- Mayor Jimmy Faircloth said the new $1.2 million Davis Farms Fire Station will be the culmination of a dream for city leaders past and present as well as for firefighters and residents.

Faircloth’s comments came at the official groundbreaking Tuesday for what will become the city’s second fire station. A host of dignitaries joined Perry officials for the event.

The 7,100-square-foot station, which is expected to open in February, weather permitting, is named after the family that donated the 7-acre property. The station’s address is 105 Commodore Road, a new road that will be located off Ga. 127 near Langston Road.

Officials have known for quite a while that a new station has been needed with the expansion of the city of about 13,900 residents.

Faircloth applauded Perry residents for helping fund the project through a 2006 special purpose local option sales tax. He also thanked the Davis family for the land donation.

The station also is funded by a one-time fire protection impact fee incurred on new development.

The fee is $5.85 for a single-family residence, with the fee based on square-footage for larger residences and commercial ventures, City Manger Lee Gilmour said.

Perry Fire Chief Joel Gray said constructing a building in light of the current economic times nationally is “quite an accomplishment.”

The new fire station, being built by Perry-based Parrish Construction Group, will serve the east end of Perry from the Houston Lake dam down Houston Lake Road and Ga. 127. The service area now includes Houston Lake Apartments and 10 subdivisions, Gray said.

The new station will mean a reduction in response time to the east end of the city limits from 11 to 15 minutes to 2 to 5 minutes, Gray said. He said the job is stressful enough without additional minutes consumed in travel while a fire is raging and medical aid is needed.

The fire station is among four recommended by Warner Robins Fire Chief Robert Singletary when he was requested to look at what was needed for the expanding city several years ago and before Gray was hired.

The other three stations may roll out based on an anticipated Insurance Services Office report and as funding becomes available, Gray said.

The city’s current ISO classification -- a standard that homeowner’s insurance rates are based upon -- is 5/9, Gray said. The 5 is for the central area of the city, while the 9 is for the east end, he said. He’s hopeful the new station may bring the overall classification to 5 citywide.

Classifications are assigned from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the best public protection.

Perry fire Lt. Robby Rowell, who’s been with the fire department for 21 years, is excited about the new station.

“It’s been a godsend,” Rowell, a shift commander, said before the groundbreaking got under way.

The station is expected to initially be manned by three of the city’s 18 firefighters, Gray said. It’s designed to include living quarters and two bays.

The fire department averages 1,600 to 1,700 service calls per year, Rowell said.

Jerry Davis III, who donated the property with his son, joined those turning dirt for the ceremony.

“It needed to be done,” said Davis, whose family still owns property within the new station’s service area. “They needed a fire station here.”

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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