Demolition ceremony makes way for new fire station in TuckerCommissioner Robert Patrick takes the first hit at the former public health building before the machinery moves in. Photo by Sara Amis.
Tucker, GA — City of Tucker and DeKalb County officials gathered on July 28 to kick off demolition of a former Department of Public Health building at 4329 Cowan Road to make way for a new Fire Station No. 5.
The new facility will cost $8.2 million and will be the second of five new fire stations funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) 1 being built throughout the county. It should be complete by 2026.
“This is a big day. This represents cooperation, collaboration, and partnership between the city of Tucker and the county of DeKalb,” said DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. “This is why we’re going to have a state-of-the-art fire station here in Tucker.”
Mayor Frank Auman said that a new fire station that would meet Tucker’s needs as a growing community had been in discussion before the incorporation of the city in 2016 and had been a priority for the newly formed city government.
“We’re thrilled to be getting this project underway.” Auman said.
Auman added that now that the new facility will be built, it’s possible to discuss converting the old No. 5 station at 4013 Lawrenceville Highway into a fire and rescue museum, memorial, and education center.
“We would love to see it put to a use that would serve the children and other residents of DeKalb County, and remind them of the importance of our firefighters, the work that they do, the ones who have lost their lives in service to us, and to help recruit a new generation to move into that noble line of work,” Auman said.
DeKalb Board of Commissioners Presiding Officer Robert Patrick, Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, and Director of Public Safety Joseph “Jack” Lumpkin all emphasized the value and necessity of SPLOST to fund projects like the new fire station.
“It’s your tax pennies that will take down this building and build back a brand new building,” Patrick said, adding that firefighters improve safety and also save the community money.
“Having a first rate fire service like we have lowers insurance rates, which saves money for homeowners and renters,” Patrick said.
Cochran-Johnson said that the first-ever SPLOST for DeKalb generated $636 million over the past six years, which is being used for needed infrastructure projects throughout the county. Cochran-Johnson encouraged everyone to continue the work with SPLOST 2, which is now in the planning process.
“It gives us the opportunity to do great things,” Cochran-Johnson said.
Dave Fischer of ATLAS is the project manager for SPLOST for DeKalb County, who said that the recently completed Fire Station No. 7 is the prototype for the one to be built at the Cowan Road site. Fischer said that a state inspector had described No. 7 as the nicest fire station he’d ever seen.
“This really is a cutting edge facility,” Fischer said.
Fire Chief Darnell Fullum said that the new fire stations are beautiful and have improved living areas, but also incorporate improved safety measures for firefighters.
“We’re just excited about what’s going to happen here over the next months,” Fullum said. “Our goal is to have the best trained, best equipped, best paid fire department in this state if not the nation, and we’re going to have the best facility as well.”
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