By David Dykes Staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org Published in THE GREENVILLE NEWS July 7, 2011
|"Boiling Springs Fire Chief Steve Graham and Communication Service Center's Ronnie Channell looks at plans for the possible new station in a former church building off Pelham Road." - MYKAL MCELDOWNEY/GREENVILLE NEWS Staff|
The Boiling Springs Fire Department plans to convert a church building off Pelham Road to a new fire station, adding firefighters to one of the fastest-growing areas of Greenville County and helping protect a coveted insurance rating for homeowners.
Boiling Springs Fire Chief Steve Graham told GreenvilleOnline.com that the department has a contract to purchase property on Blacks Drive from the Vineyard Church of Greenville in a transaction that should close about Aug. 10.
He declined to discuss the purchase price or the cost of any renovations.
Church officials couldn't be reached for comment.
Graham said fire officials plan to ask Greenville County officials to issue a $2 million general obligation bond to buy the property, pay for renovations and purchase a fire truck and related equipment.
Fire officials are scheduled to make the request Monday to the County Council's Finance Committee, he said.
The new station should open Nov.1 and house an engine company and nine firefighters, Graham said.
Graham said the new station will the department's fourth and help it maintain a Class 1 ISO rating, which can directly impact homeowners' insurance premiums. The department's headquarters will remain on Pelham Road near Interstate 85, Graham said.
ISO evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States.
Officials say a community's investment in fire mitigation is a reliable predictor of future fire losses, and insurance companies use the information to help establish premiums for fire insurance -- generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection.
According to its website, the church in May began meeting at the Eastside YMCA. Greenville County property records show the church owns three parcels on Blacks Drive.
Graham said the site totals more than 5.4 acres. It has a swimming pool, which could be used for the department's dive-team training, but "that's one of those things -- do the costs outweigh the benefits?" Graham said.
"The main focus is to get the station in operation," he said. "And then we're going to take some time and look at would it be better for the taxpayers of this (fire) district and operation of this fire department to maybe look at splitting that down and maybe selling some of the property."
The department has an agreement with county recreation officials to use Oak Grove Lake for diver training, Graham said.
He said environmental assessments and surveys are being conducted at the church site along with engineering and architectural reviews.
County records show Graham and the Vineyard Church filed an application with the county Board of Zoning Appeals to convert the church building to the fire station.
A Greenville County spokesman said no rezoning for the fire station is necessary. By special exception, the Board of Zoning Appeals can approve uses such as fire protection in residential areas.
The board will hold a hearing on the application at 3 p.m. July 13 in the County Council's chambers.
Labels: Boiling Springs Fire District