Three years after neighbors rallied to give firefighters at Fire Station 27, better working conditions and raised $250,000 to make it happen, the city of Atlanta has plans to tear the fire station down.
The news surprised some people who organized the restoration effort. The station is located at 4260 Northside Dr. Northwest in Buckhead.
The renovations included a new roof, new bathrooms and updates to the living quarters, according to Ann O’Connell, a member of the council of neighbors.
Marci Vincent, who headed the task force for the renovations, said she was “furious” when she found out about the city’s plans to raze the station and build a new one.
O’Connell and Vincent say they have calmed down and that they think it will be a long time before the city builds a new station.
“I think I’ll probably not be here by the time [Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran] does that,” Vincent said.
O’Connell said she was initially disappointed, but found the silver lining. She said if the fire station got 15 more years of life out of the renovations, they would be worth the effort.
The fire department reported via email the replacement is scheduled for Fiscal Year 2016.
The department said the chief’s announcement should not have surprised anyone. Public Information Officer J.L. Bundrige said the department told residents at the time that the fire station had outlived its usefulness.
“The fact that the station was past its designed life-cycle and needed replacement was communicated to the Task Force,” Bundrige said via email. “According to the current replacement schedule, by the time the station is replaced, the renovation will have had between eight and 15 years of service.”
He said at the time of the renovations, the department did not know when the renovations would take place.
“The replacement of AFRD Fire Station 27 has been on the list for over a decade, but it has been a low priority,” Bundrige said. “At the time the work was done, with limited funding and no definitive replacement date available, it was appropriate to renovate the station to provide firefighters with a suitable work environment.”
The Fire Department reported if the city puts the new fire station at Fire Station 27’s current location, it will cost between $2.25 and $2.5 million. Bundrige said the station, built in 1953, is one of 14 in the city that need to be replaced. The entire cost of the Fire Department’s capital plan is $49.1 million, he said.
The volunteers who made the renovations happen said they do not feel like they wasted their time.
“There are other fire stations that are much worse off,” Vincent said. “It was a good effort, the neighbors got together and decided to do something and we accomplished the objective.”