The Spanish Fort Volunteer Fire Department is one step closer to building a fire training facility. Not all of the council was in favor of it though because of where they want to build it.
It’s no secret that the city of Spanish Fort is growing at a fast pace. The fire department there has been growing too. Mostly made up of volunteers, the department is now
40 members strong. With the growth, proper training is paramount and Fire Chief, Roger Few began making plans for a new training facility five years ago. The department purchased five acres of land on Jay Street near the middle of town and had plans drawn up for the new facility in the summer of 2013.
“The building itself will have classroom space It will have a computer lab. It’ll have a library. It has office space. It has storage space for surplus and reserve equipment, so we felt like it was a fairly well designed building and it will meet our needs in the future,” said Spanish Fort Fire Chief, Roger Few.
It sounds great, but more needs to fall into place first. Monday, June 16, 2014 the city council passed an ammendment to an existing ordinance that added police and fire training facilities to the table of permitted uses. Next, the planning commission and city council would have to approve of the plans and location.
That’s where District 2 council member, Dennis Dismuke has an issue. Dismuke was the lone “NO” vote out of the five council members. He said he’s not against a training facility, but he thinks it should encompass a working fire station, be on a major roadway and be built several miles north of town where they expect future growth to go.
While some do have concerns about the Jay Street location, Chief Few and residents who live nearby still feel like it’s the best option. Richard Ullo lives in the neighborhood directly behind the proposed site for the training center. He said he and his neighbors won’t have any issue with smoke and noise generated during training.
“They believe that this is just a non issue, that the positives certainly outweigh the negatives for our community,” Ullo said.
“We’ve tried to educate everyone on what the facility would be, how it would be utilized and what impact we think it’s going to have on the community,” Few explained.
Chief Few said there is no specific time frame on getting the facility completed, but hopes to see it done in the next year or two. The Fire Department is already working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on qualifying for a low interest, long term loan to build the facility.