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Dunellon--Debate on Location of Police and Fire Station Gets HOT!

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  • Dunellon--Debate on Location of Police and Fire Station Gets HOT!

    Local/State Star-banneronline

    Battle over relocating Dunnellon police, fire stations heating up

    Published June 18. 2003 8:30AM


    DUNNELLON - It took just 20 minutes Tuesday for residents to let city officials know they do not want the former First United Methodist Church turned into police and fire stations.

    "I'm very opposed to the police station and fire station locating there because of the noise level, the congestion and narrow streets," said Joanne Williams, whose home is across from the fellowship hall. "I have a feeling if the police and fire station settle there in that church, it will have a big effect on revitalization on that part of the historic district."

    Although only a handful of the more than 40 people attending the public meeting at Dunnellon City Hall spoke out, those who did received applause after citing the same concerns as Williams.

    Bill Perry of the Dunnellon Presbyterian Church read a letter from his governing board that said they were unanimously opposed to the city's plans to develop the property.

    Mary Ann Johnson, who helped secure 39 names on a petition, said she thought when she fought to keep the fire department in the city, she was fighting to keep that building as a fire department too.

    "It's a historic building," added Johnson. "It's quaint and it's essentially a part of Dunnellon's ambiance. I hate to see it not be a fire department."

    But David Warren, a former firefighter in Daytona for many years, said moving the fire and police stations to the neighborhood makes sense. He said it would be great for kids because they will have someplace safe to go, and it will be good for the neighborhood because they will gain immediate fire protection.

    "The life safety issue is the most important thing for me," Warren said. "In this area that we fought so hard to keep our fire department, the whole situation is, you need someone there (with) quick response time and you have to have them (there to) put the fire out.

    "Noise can't be a real problem," he said. "You just have to live with it. If you live by the railroad tracks you get used to the railroad tracks. If those streets aren't adequate to get a fire truck down, what difference does it make if it's sitting two blocks away or sitting right there. The problem still exists."

    Another option still under consideration is a possible land swap with another landowner.

    Two years ago, the Marion County School Board donated the old Dunnellon Middle School to the city for $1. City Council members intended to sell some or all of the property and build a community center and fire and police station on the spot.

    Wayland Fowler, who did not speak at the meeting, said he believes that's what should happen. He said new construction customized to the needs of fire and police departments is the proper way to proceed, and since the middle school property was given to the city for public business and recreational use, that's what it should be used for.

    Monica Bryant covers the Dunnellon Area and the State Road 200 corridor. She can be reached at 867-4131 or at [email protected]
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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