Construction began on Feb. 12 on the long-discussed and long-planned second fire station in the south part of Carthage. A groundbreaking for the new station is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 14.
Construction began on Feb. 12 on the long-discussed and long-planned second fire station in the south part of Carthage.
Carthage Fire Chief Roger Williams told the Carthage City Council on Feb. 13 that Crossland Construction, the winning contractor, had moved on to the site in the Peach Tree business subdivision off South Grand Avenue near the ramps onto and off of Interstate 49 south of Fir Road.
“We're underway,” Williams told the council members. “That's pretty exciting. There is some equipment, some trucks out there. We've got progress, that's good news.”
Williams said the 9,000-square-foot, three-bay station will have space to park six vehicles and be staffed by four firefighters.
Crossland Construction won the contract to build the new fire station with a bid of $1,542,000 in January.
The bid was the lowest of seven bids submitted to the city.
The city budgeted $1,186,000 for the project, but City Administrator Tom Short said they could make up the difference by shuffling money from a road construction project that was included in the 2017-18 budget but will not be started until next year at the earliest.
Crossland has nine months to finish construction but Williams said they expected to have it finished well before that.
Williams said he hopes to staff the station and have it operational by this fall.
Putting a fire station in the rapidly-growing, south part of Carthage has been under discussion for almost 20 years.
In the late 1990s, when Carthage Water & Electric Plant was building two huge new water towers, the city discussed putting a fire station in the base of the tower at River Street and Airport Drive, but that idea was scrapped.
Other locations, including on Hazel Avenue between Airport Drive and Fir Road and on Airport Drive near the intersection with Garrison Avenue, have been considered over the years.
More recently, the city accepted a land donation from the developers of the Peach Tree business addition between Fir Road and South Grand Avenue for the new station.
The location gives fire trucks access to South Grand to allow quicker response north into the south part of Carthage or south along Interstates 49 and 44 and into the rural Carthage Fire Protection District.
The construction of the new fire station will likely reduce fire and homeowners insurance rates for residents and businesses in and around the south end of Carthage when the station becomes operational.
New storm siren
In other news, Williams said the central part of the city will have a new storm siren in time for tornado season this spring.
He said the new siren was installed on Miller Street between Garrison and Jersey Streets.
Williams said technicians will install the radios and software needed to make the siren operational sometime this week.
The siren fills a gap in the city's coverage area.
“Where it's sitting is a bullseye on the edge of several coverage circles,” Williams said. “The cost for the siren was $27,000, and cooperation from Carthage Water & Electric employees and the city Street Department helped get it installed and keep costs down.”