Ga. 96 fire station in Warner Robins closer to reality

chwright@macon.comSeptember 26, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A new city fire station should be complete by late next year, said Chief Robert Singletary at Thursday’s ceremonial groundbreaking.

“We’ve reached that point because of the continued growth of our city and the possibility for continued growth, it’s time for a new fire station and new staffing,” Singletary said, after thanking firefighters, city leaders and taxpayers for their parts in making the project possible.

Leaders from the city, county and CB&T Bank of Middle Georgia joined Singletary and about 20 firefighters at the location off Ga. 96 to celebrate the bank’s land donation and symbolically toss some dirt.

“You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting,” Mayor Chuck Shaheen said, adding that Warner Robins has been labeled one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. “Well, here we grow again.”

CB&T Bank donated 3.8 acres of a foreclosed tract of more than 100 acres under the condition the city provide sewer and a road to the property off of Ga. 96 at Cartwright Drive. Construction will begin by the end of this year, according to a news release.

The city had been in talks with the bank for a year.

“We had to wait for the right time,” Shaheen said. He thanked Singletary; Eddie Norris, of CB&T; and Sonny Watson, a member of the CB&T board.

City Attorney Jim Elliott said sewer is in the nearby area but not the CB&T land. So a short sewer line will have to be extended. He said city engineers estimated the utilities and road would cost about $104,000 and would service some of the land the bank still owns.

The bank “would like to ... sell for development the corner lot,” Elliott said.

The land donated for the firehouse is valued at about $25,000 per acre, for a total of $95,000, Elliott said.

The city has been preparing for the station for the better part of two years. Building costs of $750,000 are included in the 2012 special purpose local option sales tax, and an additional $150,000 has been set aside for the project. The Council also approved funding in the fiscal 2014 budget for six months of salaries for 11 firefighters that will work out of the station.

“I may ask for three more,” Singletary said.

Singletary said he doesn’t anticipate a lot of additional noise in the area, especially because the station will be away from the road. He said sirens are unavoidable, though, in emergency cases.

Traffic is also not anticipated to be a problem, the chief said. The state will have to decide whether to put in a light at the intersection, because Ga. 96 is a state road.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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