By Bill Short
The Millington Municipal Planning Commission approved a proposed Site Plan this week for construction of a new Fire Station No. 2 on Raleigh-Millington Road.
Commission members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Mike Caruthers and seconded by Curtis Park.
The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Mayor Terry Jones absent.
City Finance Director John Trusty has said the existing Fire Station No. 2 needs to be replaced, based on the “condition” of the building. And the city has determined that the best location for the replacement is immediately south of the existing station.
At its May 14, 2018 meeting, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously adopted a resolution to purchase 2.002 acres from Turner & Edwards LLC for $12,500 an acre.
Trusty has said the board paid “a lower cost per acre” to acquire that property, because the existing station is located on 1 acre currently owned by the city.
After the new station is constructed on the acquired property, the single acre will be returned to the owner of the surrounding land.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, told the commission that the new station will have brick on the front and south side, but “a good bit of metal” on the north side to allow for future expansion.
A driveway around the north side will enable the fire trucks to reach the back of the station, so they can drive through its three bays. There will be 8-foot-wide handicapped parking spaces in front of the building and a staff parking area behind it.
Although the existing station has slightly less than 5,000 square feet, Goforth said the new one will be more than twice that large. The three bays will total about 6,200 square feet and the living area about 4,000.
He said the city has been working with the adjacent owner to construct a storm-water basin that would serve both properties. But if the owner does not agree to that in writing, the Site Plan will have to be amended to provide a basin “on the back of this particular lot.”
Fire Chief Gary Graves told the commission that the city will advertise for construction bids on April 15. He expects to be able to present a bid recommendation to the city board before the budget ordinance for the upcoming fiscal year is passed on final reading.
Graves has said the existing station was constructed in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
He has noted that it was not designed to house the additional personnel and the “larger pieces of equipment” that the fire department now has. It is also not handicapped-accessible, and the parking area would need to be redone.
“It was going to be cost-prohibitive to remodel that station,” Graves has acknowledged. “So, we opted to replace that one.”
The A2H architectural firm in Memphis has designed the new station. Its floor plan, with some modifications, is “modeled off” a station that the firm designed in Ripley.
Graves has noted that the new station will be “fully functional” with a kitchen and classroom space, as well as a “multipurpose” room for training or community meetings.
Its emergency facilities will meet “seismic standards” if an earthquake occurs. And it will have a “safe room” that meets the standards for other severe weather events.
The new station will also have a room equipped as a “backup dispatch center” for the police department, to provide another “answering point” for Millington residents who call 911.