By Lee Weyhrich
PINSON — The Pinson City Council on Thursday took its first step toward a new fire station.
The city council voted Thursday to rezone a two-acre tract just off Alabama Highway 79 from residential to community institutional.
The future flagship fire station for the Palmerdale Fire District will be located on Arnold Lane. It will be the district’s third station, and will include offices, training facilities, one fire truck and one ambulance.
The Palmerdale Fire District has requested the city of Pinson purchase the land for the fire station. Grant Mitchell, a member of the Palmerdale Fire District Board, made the request for $24,900 to purchase the two-acre parcel of land. The station itself will cost roughly $300,000 to build.
According to Councilman Robbie Roberts, a former board member, Palmerdale and Center Point are the two largest fire districts in the state. Palmerdale currently has two stations covering an area of roughly 50 square miles.
“We’re really excited about this property,” Palmerdale Fire Chief Robert Howell said. “For several years we’ve been looking to add a third fire station. It gives us easy access to pretty much our entire district with easy access to both major highways and access to Narrows Road to get to that back side. It’s an ideal location for us. We’re really excited.”
Major cuts in expenses have already been made to help handle the expense of the new facility, including overtime, Howell said.
“To have some help from the city would be phenomenal for us,” Howell said.
Captain Brad Appleton with the Center Point Fire District said his department and Palmerdale rely on each other to cover such large areas. He said Center Point would also benefit greatly from a new station in that location.
Councilwoman Dawn Tanner and Roberts voiced their support for the plan. Mayor Hoyt Sanders proposed discussing the possibility further at the first city council meeting in April.
The Palmerdale Fire District serves portions of Pinson and Clay, as well as the Palmerdale and Bradford areas. The district was founded in 1972.