Construction set to begin on new Highlands Fire & Rescue station

It’s taken a few years to orchestrate but work will begin on the new Fire & Rescue Dept. to be located on the old deVille property on US 64 west in the next couple of weeks; it’s expected to be completed in about 14 months – in June 2022.

Pictured from left at the Fire Department ground breaking on Friday, Jan. 19 are Ryan Bryson with Brysons Grading, Goosie Kennedy with DR Reynolds, firefighter Gary Ammons, firefighter Jeff Burnette, 2nd LT Lenny Metrick, Danny Kilby with DR Reynolds, Fire Chief Ryan Gearhart, Mayor Pat Taylor, Town Manager Josh Ward, Town Commissioner Buzz Dotson and Bob Rawson with DR Reynolds. 

A necessary pre-requisite for the endeavor was approval by the Local Government Commission whose OK officially came Jan. 5; BB&T closed on the loan Jan. 8.

On Friday, Jan. 19, town staff, commissioners and those whose task it is to construct the building gathered for the ground-breaking.

HFR Chief Ryan Gearhart operates an excavator at the fire department’s groundbreaking for their new station last Friday.

The $8.5 million loan through BB&T for the land and the building – $1.5 million for the land and $7 million for the building – is for 20 years. The first payment of $658,750 is due June 20, 2022 with the loan being paid entirely from Highlands fire tax revenues. The fire tax is part of the ad valorem property tax from the properties within the Highlands Fire District.  

“We are excited to get this project started,” said Mayor Pat Taylor. “This will serve this community for years to come. It will be a first-class facility where our firefighters can work, train and decontaminate their suits after a fire. This is something that is really going to be positive for Highlands.” 

Work is expected to begin on the new station around June 2022.

Mayor Taylor also thanked Jane Woodruff for selling the town the property at a “very, very good price.”

“That made it possible for us to put a fire department in a very strategic place in the community and the design and building will be a real plus for this area of Highlands.” 

He also expressed appreciation to Chief Gearhart, the public safety committee, the commissioners on the board, the Town Manager Josh Ward and staff who coordinated the financing – “all who made this a reality.”

“Thank you everyone,” he said.

Bryson’s Grading will be doing the excavation work, DR Reynolds is the building contractor with Danny Kilby the job superintendent and Goosie Kennedy the project manager.

Article by Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper
Photos by Brian O’Shea

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