Argument Ensues in Meeting Over Statesville (NC) Fire Station Location

City Manager Ron Smith said that the move was about the city's fire coverage as a whole, not for just one area.

According to a report from Statesville.com, a contentious exchange occurred between a Statesville, North Carolina, resident and a city council member during this past Monday night’s meeting over the new location of the Statesville Fire Department’s (SFD) Fire Station 1.

City Manager Ron Smith said that the move was about the city’s fire coverage as a whole, not for just one area.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Micah Phelps said he was speaking on behalf of people in the Larkin area of Statesville, saying the residents were promised that the station’s location would be on Amity Hill Road. Phelps continued to say that he and others believed that, when the Larkin area agreed to be annexed by the city, a firehouse near that vicinity was promised. Smith wrote in an email on Tuesday that he didn’t know of any agreement or promise that a fire station would be built in that area, but Fire Station 1’s new location, on Meeting Street to Wilson Lee Boulevard, will provide better coverage around the Larkin Golf Club and adjacent areas.

Smith and the city council also said the city’s fire coverage would be lessened if the stationed was on Amity Hill Road, and the location on Wilson Lee Boulevard would not result in longer response times than the previous Amity Hill location.

Councilwoman Doris Allison said that even as she and Councilman Frederick Foster were debating with the council over the previous Amity Hill location, they didn’t hear anyone from Larkin in regards to the council considering the move to Wilson Lee.

Then there was an exchange of unpleasantries, with Phelps saying he would “fire” Allison, and Allison responding by telling Phelps to “Get out.”

On Tuesday, Allison accused Phelps’ of “bullying,” which is why she said she responded how she did.

Foster also spoke positively of the new station location, although he also had once opposed it. Foster said he had met with SFD Chief Andy Weatherman to discuss the issue and was convinced the move made sense for the entire city.

Councilman John Staford said previous councils were told the Amity Hill location was “detrimental” to fire coverage. The council then approved starting the process for the design and construction of a new Fire Station 1 building at the Wilson Lee location.

Eventually, the council voted 5-3 to fund it out its Unassigned Fund Balance. 

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