Fire Station #7 -Notes from the Finance/Executive Committee of the City Council
Funds needed to reopen Fire Station #7 was approved today by the Finance/Executive Committee of the City Council. If all goes well, Fire Station #7 will reopen in a few months. This has been a long time coming as #7 has been closed now for years. Many neighbors in West End, Westview, and surrounding neighborhoods have protested, called, written letters, and met with dozens of persons in order to get it reopened. This is a big win for our neighborhood because our own station, #17, is often gone on calls in part due to the increased demand from the closing of #7.
Below are notes from the meeting. Note these are my notes and are not official; to see the official notes from the city go to the city council website and look for meeting agenda/minutes under legislation: http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/
Finance/Executive Committee Meeting
Council Members Present:
Felicia Moore – District 9
Alex Wan – District 6
Howard Shook – 7
Aaron Watson – post 2 at large
Natalyn Mosby Archibong – 5
Ordinaces related to Reopening Firestation #7:
All resolutions related to this were introduced by Councilmember Winslow
- many residents from Westview and West End were present. They had red and white Fund Fire station #7 signs
- Committee reviews ordinances: Deputy COO explains. E2 ordinance moves $500K funds from Fire Department budget to retain a design firm for making repairs. F2 allows payment for removal of asbestos. F3 allows payment for the design.
- CT Martin asks how much total amt. COO clarifies that $1M. CT Martin asks if demolition will occur and then build backbone same spot.
- Alex Wan asks for clarity in difference between F3 and F5. F3 is for asbestos; F5 is for design scope.
- Alex Wan and Felicia Moore ask when construction will happen and the cost. COO clarifies that construction will cost ~$2.5M and happening 4-6 myths from now. This may fall on this legislative cycle so Felicia Moore asks for verification of current Fire budget Confirms Fire has a budget of $4.5M.
- CT Martin says support project but wants to confirm about work needed at other stations; mentions Fire station 9, 17 and 25. Concerned that in 2 years work hasn’t been completed. Fire Chief Cochran responds saying work has been done on each station. However mentions that $4.5M is a “scratch on the surface” of money needed to do repairs. Focused on the most critical repairs that threaten safety.
- CT Martin asks if there are any other funds in “recovery fund” for more repairs. Says disturbed that “fire persons sleeping with rats” and concerned of “living fire members especially since Fire Station 7 already closed.” Stressed supports reopen of 7 but wants to know what plan is for repairs on stations 9, 17, and 25.
- ? person from city states can give report on status of the repairs. CT Martin says that Chief Cochran “owes the council a tour” and requests tours of the three stations of concern. Chief Cochran responds that a tour of all the Fire Stations is a priority.
- Howard Shook ask about assets be put info #7. Chief Cochran responds: Will have two EMS supervisors and quick response unit. Shook asks to take that into account with the budget.
- Felicia Moore brings up concern of removal of asbestos. ? responds with need to remove all construction material. This is a “difficult and costly” repair.
- Cleta Winslow speaks: Fire Chief Cochran and Winslow has had a number of conversations on dire need. #7 was 2nd to 3rd busiest station in city. Other neighborhoods have to respond. Lists neighborhood station covers: AUC, West End, Mechanicsville, Booker T Washington, portion of Oakland City. Wear and tear on fire persons.
- Felicia Moore asks how reopening #7 will alleviate response time. Chief Cochran clarifies that #7 was not closed because it wasn’t needed, closed because couldn’t be afforded. It was the second highest station for calls on emergency care.
- Martin speaks, stresses Fire station was “closed because of means. . . and not need. Hope that will never occur in city history again.”
- Winslow clarifies that station closed under former administration.
- need safety restored on south side
- voting for moving in the right direction
- Tacoma Brown: brings up issue of senior safety with number of high rises
- Jennie Mills of Adair Park: some of heaviest traffic; high burden put on other stations. Want retention of architectural elements building dates go 1800s
- Vonda Henry West End: station part of city before existed; very hard on neighborhood protested, put full effort behind reinstating, cant wait to reopen
- Mechanics-ville Neighbors: have no convenient services asked for restoration of #7
- College Town: buildings mostly made of wood; elderly persons needed
- Ayana Gabriel Westview: need reopen, #17 part of neighborhood and always on call
- Washington Neighborhood : mentions elderly and school in community: Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, KIPP Ways, MAgnes Jones, Washington HS; businesses and Walmart
- Johnnie Lee Sanders, Abernathy Towers in West End. Stressed other points.
- Chair Mitchell speaks. Resident of West End and stressed that station should never have been closed. Commended councilmember Winslow on fighting to reopen it.