Politics & Government

New fire station serving west side of Macon-Bibb finished

The need for a fire station on the west side of Macon-Bibb County was confirmed Friday even as newly built Fire Station 110 was dedicated at 2930 Heath Road.

Jeffery Monroe, chairman of the committee that reviews progress on use of special purpose local option sales tax funds, thanked taxpayers for voting in 2011 for the SPLOST that built the station.

“This fire station would not have been possible without the forward thinking and forward looking of all of us,” he said.

As he spoke, one of the fire trucks parked nearby hit its lights and siren, taking off down Heath Road to answer a call.

“And we’ve got our tax dollars at work right now,” Monroe said.

About 100 people turned out for the dedication, including current and former elected officials, firefighters, government department heads and people involved in the construction.

The fire station is dedicated to Joe Allen, a retired firefighter who served 20 years on the Bibb County Commission. Former Commission Chairman Sam Hart gave Allen a plaque, and another is affixed to the building’s front wall.

Allen said one of his main priorities on the commission was to get firefighters out of their old metal buildings, which were cold in winter and hot in summer. But he, like several other speakers, gave credit for the new station to the community.

“It was ‘we’ who did this,” Allen said. “It wasn’t ‘I.’ ’’

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Ed DeFore, who represents the west side of the county, said it’s good to have increased fire protection for the area.

Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said it will serve Lizella and much more.

“It’s a big area,” he said.

Seven firefighters will occupy the 8,000-square-foot station at a time, Riggins said. It will house two companies, a ladder truck and an aerial truck, he said.

Though it was dedicated Friday afternoon, it won’t start regular operation until 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

Three fire stations are being built with money from the 2011 SPLOST. Fire Station 109 opened near New Forsyth Road in July 2013, dedicated to former Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson.

A search is still underway for the third station’s site, but land may be bought for it by the end of the year, said Clay Murphey, SPLOST projects manager.

Mayor Robert Reichert thanked Stafford Builders for finishing Station 110 “on time and under budget.”

Both stations completed so far have come in well under their $4 million budgets. Macon-Bibb commissioners voted in September to redirect $635,000 left from the first station to more work at the new Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Center and the Tattnall Square Park Tennis Center.

There is about $800,000 left from building Station 110, which can be redirected to other approved SPLOST projects.

Trucks for Station 109 were bought from a separate SPLOST fund for public safety, but trucks for station 110 were bought from the fire station budget itself -- and there’s still $800,000 left, Murphey said.