By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: June 9, 2019 | 5:09p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – The seemingly endless rain that has spread across the region over the last few weeks, and especially the last few days relinquished its grip on Prince George, if only for a few hours to allow bright blue skies to fill the background as the community came together to celebrate the grand opening of the county’s newest fire station.
At the corner of James River Drive and Moody Road in the county, Prince George Fire and EMS Station 7 is a full-feature, state-of-the art station that will allow for both fire and emergency response from their building to well over 1,000 homes in the area.
Sunday, dozens of residents joined career and volunteer firefighters, and various local and state officials to formally open the building during a special ceremony that had the feels of a family gathering or lunch with friends after worship services. Messages were delivered by Prince George Fire and EMS Director Brad Owens, longtime firefighter Chief John Nicol of the Burrowsville Volunteer Fire Department, state leaders Emily Brewer and Frank Ruff, along with Prince George Board of Supervisors Chairman Donald Hunter, who also is closely connected with the county’s public safety assets, and officials with the construction and architectural firm.
The celebration comes just over a year after funding for the construction of the new station was approved by the Prince George Board of Supervisors – totaling nearly $3 million overall. The station has been funded over the course of several years in the county budget, with a total of $1 million being borrowed in 2015 and 2017 during annual debt issuance actions, and, in 2018, supervisors approved using $1.9 million of unassigned fund balance to cover the remaining costs of the station’s construction.
After receiving feedback from residents and fire officials, supervisors opted to carry out the full-build of the station, as opposed to a proposed plan that would have seen the vehicle bays built first and living quarters and other features built later.
During his remarks, Owens said the building would allow for both career and volunteer firefighters to work together and learn from one another as they serve their community out of Station 7.
After a special ribbon cutting, the building was opened up to the community to allow for tours and the dozens on hand bonded over a special meal while sitting at tables inside the station’s sprawling vehicle bays.