New Fire Station Proposed in Beaufort (SC)

Firefighters in a Carteret County location are hoping town leaders will green light construction of a new multi-million dollar fire station. A public hearing and vote is scheduled for later this week.

Assistant Fire Chief Richard Lovick says it’s all about keeping up with growth in Beaufort.

Standing since 1965, the current fire station is old, outdated and cramped. The budget for the project is $3 million. Town Manager Charlie Burgess said that figure has been a small point on contention among some in the community. Last week, a public hearing on the matter was recessed as the lowest bid on the project came in too high at $3.4 million. The architect, the town and the bidder have been in negotiations.

“We anticipate being in a position this Thursday evening for the continued public hearing with revised numbers,” Burgess said.

The new 11,000 square foot, three bay facility is set to be built on Pine Street one block away from the current station on Cedar Street. Lovick said a new, larger station would enable his firefighters to better serve the growing town.

“I believe we can knock off 45 seconds or better on response times here in town. It’ll make it easier for us to get out of the building quicker, do our job better, safer,” Lovick said.

After Thursday’s public hearing, town leaders are set to decide whether or not to move forward. As for the burden to taxpayers, Burgess said town leaders raised the property tax rate by three cents two budget cycles ago. That was to cover the cost of a new, $3 million fire building.

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