Ash Flat fire station still up in air

ASH FLAT, AR (KAIT) - Over the past year, we've been tracking the Ash Flat Fire Department's search for a new home.

It's present location is being remodeled for the new library.

And now the building that many thought was the front runner for the new station, has been pulled from the race.

"I just run out of time because it was right at a year from the time I told them that I would sell it too them." said Terry Dillard, owner of Dillard and Dillard Motors.

On February second he sent a letter to the Ash Flat city council and the mayor Danny Traw that his building was no longer available for purchase for the city. Dillard cited business reasons.

Dillard, "Going from a new car dealer to a used car dealer, I had to change signs and all that stuff that I had to get that done to get my dealers license ready for this year."

Dillard recently sold his GMC dealership to Mark Martin. Knowing that was going to happen the city had become interested in Dillard's property.

What made the place nearly perfect is that it already had garage space for police and city vehicles and there was plenty of room to build a new fire station.

Dillard, "I don't have to have this big of place and I told the city I would work with them in any way I could."

But bid issues with the new building slowed the process way down.

Dillard, "I'd priced it to them and I would have sold it to them at any given time but I knew they had bids they had to get in and to make sure the place was suitable with all the firemen and the city council so there was a lot of people involved."

Eventually Dillard moved on. He has leased out the back of his building to a local auto repairman. Dillard says he had to do something besides wait on the city to make up it's mind.

Dillard, "We've been busy getting parts tagged and sent back to General Motors and get all that washed up but pretty much as far as I know right now, I'm out of it."

Ash Flat Mayor Danny Traw said new bids for a building will open around the first of March.

Traw, "Our big deal is to get the bids in on this building and see how much money we have to work with."

Originally a piece of property located just off 63 was where the Fire Department was set to go. Traw said they expect to have the title to it in a couple of days. But he says they are still looking at some other locations.

Traw, "We had several locations picked out and Terry's was just one of them. We never really said for sure it was going to Terry's."

Even though no one is exactly sure where the building will go, Traw said its cost will be close to their allocated budget.

Traw, "Around 325 to 350 Thousand somewhere in that range. We had some alternates and I don't know exactly how the alternates will affect the price of it."

Mayor Traw says if they do decide to build on the property off of 63 it's not large enough for all city offices so they may expand the current city hall. That hasn't been determined yet.

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