The former site of a Georgia State Patrol post in Villa Rica may become the future home of one of the county’s busiest fire stations.
District 2 Commissioner Clint Chance told the Times-Georgian on Wednesday that he would like to see the former site of Georgia State Patrol Post 4 at 746 West Bankhead Highway used for a new Carroll County Fire Station 9, which is currently at 74 Industrial Blvd.
Carroll County owns the former patrol station, a building that has been sitting vacant since 2017 and had been in disrepair for years. It had been renovated once — in 1965. The Georgia State Patrol relocated Post 4 in 2017 to a former bank building at 1849 Carrollton Villa Rica Highway.
County Fire Station 9 is one of the oldest — and smallest — stations in the county with four firefighters and one lieutenant. Yet it is one of the busiest fire facilities in the county, covering the heavily populated area around Villa Rica and Temple, as well as being one of the prime responding units for accidents on Interstate 20.
At its current site, the station is surrounded by swamp and wetlands and would not be suitable for expansion, Chance said. But the site of the old patrol post is a different story.
“The lot is a very large size,” Chance said, “so we are looking at possibly putting an additional building there so that we can have some county services, a community room or have a voting station in the future.”
Building a new fire station on the site would require putting the project on the upcoming SPLOST referendum on March 16, 2021. Chance said the Board of Commissioners will finalize the other projects on the SPLOST referendum at a retreat in August.
“The first step is that, if the full commission is in agreement to put it on the referendum in March, what I’m going to do between that period and March is have some public information meetings in that community,” Chance said.
In January, the Carroll County Fire Rescue released a five-year plan that cited the need for a new Fire Station 9.
The current station was built in 1981, according to the report, and “cannot continue to effectively serve that community in its current condition.”
During 2019, firefighters at this station responded to 122 separate incidents on the interstate, which comprised 6,683 minutes of time spent on the freeway, according to the report. These calls are expected to increase in volume every year, the report said, due to the volume of traffic and construction work.
Because the city is growing, Chance said there may be a need for a second fire station near Mirror Lake. However, that is on the Douglas County side of Villa Rica.
Before the former patrol station can be demolished, it needs to be cleared of asbestos. The county commission approved the demolition in February and is scheduled to vote on clearing the “extensive asbestos” from the building during their meeting on July 7, a project that could cost up to $71,690.
As required by the state Environmental Protection Division, a survey at the former patrol station for the asbestos abatement was obtained by Contour Engineering, which cost the county $6,850.
The county received three bids from environmental companies including Kadima, Inc., Atlas Environmental Services, LLC, and Winter Environmental. Kadima was the lowest bidder at $42,850, while Atlas Environmental submitted a $49,450 bid and Winter Environmental priced the work at $71,690.
Once the asbestos has been removed, Chance said the county’s Public Works department will demolish the former Post 4 patrol station.