Ash Flat may have found new home for Fire Dept.

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

ASH FLAT, AR (KAIT) - After months of debate and looking for a solution, the city of Ash Flat may have found a new home for its fire department.

In February we first told you about the plans to remodel the current fire house into a library. Those plans are moving ahead because of grant deadlines. Unfortunately the fire department did not have a new facility to move into.

Currently one truck is in a bay at the old station, a brush truck and ladder truck are parked in city garage space and the other trucks are parked in a pole barn built for the city.

Due to high bid numbers the mayor rejected all bids and the search for a new facility moved on.

About 2 months ago the mayor formed a committee to look into solutions. This week the committee presented their findings to the mayor and city council.

Committee Chair Robert Driesel says the committee looked at several options. "We looked at both alternatives which was to build the firehouse over on the location on 67 or to remodel the Dillard- Fowlkes building. Both were found non feasible."

The Dillard-Fowlkes building is a GMC dealership on Highway 412 North. The property encompasses about 7 acres.

The committee recommended that the police, fire, and city hall all be re-located at the Dillard  property. The dealership has bays that could be used for police cars and city vehicles to be worked on, enough office space for the police and city hall and enough open space to build a new firestation.

But at the moment, the city doesn't own the property.

Terry Dillard who  owns the car dealership says the GMC dealership will probably go away but he himself is not going out of business. Dillard says he plans to build a smaller dealership somewhere close to the present lot so the city can have all the acreage.

Currently bids are going out on a pre-fabricated building for the fire department.

Driesel, "What they've done so far is they are going out for bid on the firehouse alone making sure the costs would come back like we said they would come back. Once they get those costs back they are going to move forward on the whole project , funding the whole nine yards. All the engineering and everything is done at a plant somewhere else in the United States. They're brought in and set up after they have been engineered is done and the proper loads put into the building."

So far the city has made no firm offer to purchase the Dillard property but Mr. Dillard says there has been some discussion about the future plans.

After the new station is built a pumper and rescue truck will stay at the old firehouse location where the quarters are for the full-time fire fighter. This will keep more of the town covered

Driesel says that will be good for the city. "By looking forward to lowering their ISO rates it lowers our insurance rates it's less money for us as citizens to have to pay."

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