Current fire station could be best fit for Belhaven

Published 9:47 am Thursday, November 13, 2008

By Staff
After much bickering, town looks into station repairs
Staff Writer
BELHAVEN — Members of the Belhaven Volunteer Fire and Rescue squad might not be stepping down from their posts after all.
At the Belhaven Town Council’s regular meeting Monday night, the council moved to give Town Manager Guinn Leverett authority to pursue repairs to the current Belhaven Fire and Rescue Station on Haslin Street.
The motion came after Belhaven Fire Chief Derrick Myers told the council at its last regular meeting that the squad would prefer to stay at the current station over the proposed site of a new station on the corner of King and Pungo streets.
At the Oct. 27 council meeting, Myers voiced concerns about traffic safety at the proposed site. He said that the site’s close proximity to Northside Park and little league baseball and softball fields made it unsafe for pedestrians, especially children.
Within days of the Oct. 27 meeting, town officials met with restoration experts to determine the feasibility of repairing the current station.
Councilmen Guy and Mac Pigott, Mayor Adam O’Neal, Town Manager Leverett, Ron Medellin, chairman of the committee formed to designate a site for the station, and volunteer firefighter Paul Wood, took two individuals with expertise in repairing fire stations on a tour of the current station.
At the council’s Monday meeting, Guy made the motion to pursue repairs.
Leverett said he will get right to work on the repair estimates, and expects to report back to the council by the first of the year.
The town will seek input from the volunteer fire and rescue squad, in an attempt to “utilize the building to its fullest capacity,” said Pigott.
While the fire station could remain at its current location, the proposed site for the 24-hour Emergency Medical Services center remains at the corner of Washington and Pungo streets.
In a resolution adopted by the council, the council extended an invitation to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners to form a not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of providing EMS in the Belhaven and Pantego Township.
The center will include sleeping and eating arrangements, according to Leverett.
To guarantee the success of the center, the town is looking for input from other nonprofit EMS centers in the county and Beaufort County Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack.
The town has $400,000 budgeted for the two projects, said Leverett.
The decision to look into repairs to the current fire station already has one supporter in Belhaven Fire Chief Myers.