Town moves forward to save the Rescue building

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Rescue Squad building in Elizabethtown is undergoing a rescue of its own.

At its planning session Monday afternoon, the Elizabethtown Town Council heard an update from Terry Cox, owner of JT Cox & Associates Architects. The firm is tasked with overhauling the Elizabethtown Rescue Squad building, which flooded again during Hurricane Matthew.

“Our original premise has been to try to salvage and renovate the existing structure and use it the best we can,” Cox informed the Board.

The 17,700-square-foot building has multiple issues, according to the architect. Sitting as it does at the bottom of a hill, the site is prone to flooding, a feature that led FEMA to recommend demolition. In addition, it lies on the border of the central business district.

“It needs something with mass to it, a visual … connecting the end of the street with (traffic) coming that way,” Cox explained.

The long, narrow layout of the property and the limited entry options also presented design challenges, as did an “insufficient” foundation on the southern end of the building.

The plans include demolishing the bay area and replacing it with a metal building that will serve as the bay for the fire department vehicles. The office area will be retained, with a bunk area and fitness center in the center, as well as two additional bays for EMS. The main entrance will be on Cypress Street.

The current plans reflect a decrease in square footage. The building is currently nearly 18,000 square feet, and the plans call for it to be decreased to 14,800 square feet to stay within budget.

“We’ve looked at it half a dozen ways, and this seems to be the most efficient,” Cox said.

It is still larger, however, than the current fire department, which measures 11,400 square feet.

The agenda item was for informational purposes only, so the Board took no action.

The project is being funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation. Construction must be fully completed by December 2019.

In other action, the Board:

— Recognized Mike Shaw and the Pork & Beats Festival Committee for their “hard work and dedication” in making Elizabethtown’s inaugural festival a success in 2017.

— Recognized East Bladen football priest Robby Priest for being recommended by his peers to coach in the Shrine Bowl.

— Approved releasing unpaid taxes.

— Approved a grant for parking lot paving at the airport terminal.

— Approved a proposal for $29,950 from DeVane Builders to complete the Leinwand Park restroom project. Since the bid was under $30,000, going out for bids was not required.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladnejournal.com.

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Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal