Residents looking for relief from high homeowners insurance may see a reduction in the near future as the city of Leeds moves forward with plans to build a new fire station.
After looking at several sites, the Leeds City Council appears poised to construct a new fire station on property already owned by the city. This property is located on Highway 119 where it intersects with President Street.
Previously, the council had looked at properties along Zeigler Road. However, those sites became problematic after discovering that sinkholes and other geographic features would make them more expensive for construction.
On the other hand, city officials feel the site at President Street offers several advantages that make it better suited for the new department.
“We needed to find a location that put everything within five miles. This property meets that goal with the exception of one home on the far side of Floyd Bradford Road,” Leeds Mayor Eric Patterson said.
In addition, the mayor indicated that the city engineer, Frank Spencer, said the property was better suited for construction of the station than those the city had looked at previously.
Because the city will not have to purchase property, the decision for the site will also save money, according to Patterson.
With the station being more centrally located and closer to the downtown area, the city would likely close Station 2, which is located downtown. This would allow for the city to continue funding two departments instead of three. Fire Chief Allen Pierce said he sees no problem closing the current Station 2, considering the proposed location of the new station.
The city has been looking to build another station after ISO ratings, which determine insurance rates for homeowners, were increased for some homeowners up to a 5.9. The goal, according to officials, is to get that rating down to a 4.0. To do that, the city needs a wider distribution of coverage that puts a station within five miles of every household. The biggest problem has been for those who live on the south side of Leeds who are outside of the five-mile fire station radius.
Patterson said the city is ready to build with funds already set aside for the new station.
“We have the money it will take to get it done,” he said. “It has been saved for this very reason. We just needed the land and this is our best option.”
Once identifying the location, the city council moved forward with a vote to solicit bids for preparing the site for construction. That work will cost approximately $70,000, according to Patterson.