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Officials celebrate unique public safety complex

New public safety complex ties into west Macon revitalization

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman discusses the benefits of a new Napier Avenue public safety complex. A groundbreaking was held Wednesday for the $2.25 million facility.
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Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman discusses the benefits of a new Napier Avenue public safety complex. A groundbreaking was held Wednesday for the $2.25 million facility.

A plan to improve fire service was put into motion several years before Macon and Bibb County consolidated in 2014.

At the time, Bibb County officials wanted to build new fire stations closer to some of the residents. In the last several years, construction has either started or been finished on four fire stations across the county — with the latest groundbreaking being held Wednesday on a facility, at 4036 Napier Ave., that firefighters and sheriff’s office personnel will work out of.

Macon-Bibb officials lauded the ability to work more closely together courtesy of the future west Macon new public safety complex. It ties into plans dating back to pre-consolidation when money was dedicated to build fire new stations.

“This fire station is going to enhance that effort,” said Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Bert Bivins, the namesake of the new complex. “The main idea is that all of our citizens will be safer.”

Fire stations on Heath Road and New Forsyth Road have built in recent years, and a Jeffersonville Road station is expected to be completed in July. The unique 15,000-square-foot public safety building should be ready to open in the spring of 2018.

The facility would become the first dual fire and sheriff’s facility in Macon in a long time, officials said.

The building was designed by BTBB, Inc., and Warren Associates will handle construction. The $2.25 million facility is being paid for with 2012 special purpose local option sales tax revenue.

The fire station will replace the Breezy Hill station where fire trucks have difficulty maneuvering in and out of the Forsyth Road facility. And sheriff’s office employees from the Pio Nono Avenue precinct will be relocating into the new complex.

Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said the new site should reduce response time. It’ll also improve communication between firefighters and deputies and provides a better opportunity to connect with residents through events and meetings, sheriff’s Col. Aubry Evins said.

“We respond together to so many incidents that begin together we’ll be able to better communicate to ensure we ... save time when we’re out on a call,” Evins said.

Commissioner Al Tillman said he is using $160,000 of blight bond funds to tear down seven blighted structures around the Napier Avenue property.

“Within this area, a 5-mile radius, the work we’ve done with Filmore Thomas (park) and Log Cabin Drive has been great with the help of this entire (Macon) Bibb County Commission. The $700,000 that’s come over to Henry Burns Park, and this project here is so exciting,” Tillman said at Wednesday’s ceremony.

Stanley Dunlap: 478-744-4623, @stan_telegraph

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