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MJ squires contemplate third fire station site

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The city of Mt. Juliet has pinpointed a potential site for a third fire station, but wants to do due diligence before they make a decision.

The property is located at 920 South Greenhill Road and is approximately 2.003 acres. It's near the Willoughby Station subdivision.

According to officials at Monday's city commission meeting, the property is owned by West Wilson Utility District. In a 3-2 vote Monday (District 1 Ray Justice and District 2 James Maness voted yes) commissioners voted to defer Justice's resolution to approve a lease agreement with West Wilson Utility District to lease the land for $1 a year, for at least 10 years.

"We don't have the answers," Justice said Tuesday. "It may be the perfect site, but we have to see."

The city of Mt. Juliet opened its first fire station on Belinda Parkway Sept. 30, 2013. FDMJ is a municipal combination department serving a community of approximately 29,000. They have a minimum of six FF/EMT's on duty 24/7, augmented by 35 volunteers staffing two engine companies and two ladder companies. They also have a fire explorer program of approximately 20 explorers.

However, the north end of the county still needs a fire department, according to Justice. The goal of FDMJ Chief Jamie Luffman is to have every inch of the city protected. He noted, "We do have other options (for sites), sources utilized. I will bring you those options."

"I'm going to hold back on saying where," Luffman said Tuesday. "But there are other parcels on South Greenhill and Lebanon roads to explore."

Currently, FDMJ uses the former Chief Rental building on Lebanon Road to house a fire engine. While it's a nice potential site for a future fire station, Luffman said Environmental Science owns it. He said they have plans for it in the future.

The site on South Greenhill Road does not have sewer, according to District 4 Commissioner Brian Abston.

"West Wilson doesn't need or want the property, they have offered to lease it for $1 a year," Abston said. "We would have no property cost. It's virtually free. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's free. We have to do due diligence and see all the costs involved. We need to look at the property and do due diligence and see if it can work, and the costs. We want the best fit."

Abston said just because the property is the cheapest, doesn't mean so, in the end.

"It's very important to get a fire station on the north end," Abston said. "When we send people from here to there, we are short. We need to be covered 100 percent."

On Monday, City Manager Kenneth Martin concluded his staff would conduct a "phase 1" due diligence and environmental study on the pinpointed site.

Earlier in the year the current Lamb Brothers site on Nonaville Road was contemplated for a site, but the retrofit of the building was too expensive and the idea was nixed.

Luffman said he has drawn plans in case the South Greenhill Road site comes to fruition.

"I've got a one story or two story plan if necessary," he said. "It's just important we pick the right site. We need to be precise."

Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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#publicsafety, Fire Department of Mt. Juliet, fire hall, fire station, Mt. Juliet
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