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MJ works toward donated fire station site

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Mt. Juliet has pinpointed the site for its third fire station, and officials said it would be donated land, saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

City Manager Kenneth Martin could not reveal the name of the benefactor, but said the deal is nearly complete. This site was one of seven pinpointed by Martin after the Mt. Juliet City Commission tasked him to scope out the best possible site for Mt. Juliet to operate its third fire station.

According to city Public Affairs Director Dennis Buchanan, the site selected is on South Greenhill Road, close to Lebanon Road.

"It's 85 percent done," he said Friday. "We are doing due diligence."

The city hopes to sign a 100 year lease, for $1 a year, and then hopefully into perpetuity.

"We don't want to put this kind of money into something that could go away," he said.

This location is ideal, said Buchanan. And, it won't require the sale of all three city-owned sites to make it happen.

He said only nine houses would not fit into the five mile radius of protection.

"But those homes would be covered by the county's Lakeview station," he said. In essence, Buchanan said 99.9 percent of Mt. Juliet would be covered with fire and EMS services if this deal goes through.

The station would cost about $1.7 million to build, and equip with a "smaller apparatus," Buchanan said.

Fire Department of Mt. Juliet Chief Jamie Luffman said earlier for the complete coverage of the city, it was important there still be a city presence at Station 3, behind Mt. Juliet City Hall.

"This is phenomenal," Buchanan said. "It's a win, win for the city. The county already said they'd put an ambulance on the new site."

Buchanan said the new station would most likely be manned with full time firefighters.

"We are farther in this endeavor than we thought we'd be," he said.

The Fire Department of Mt. Juliet began operations Sept. 30, 2013 at a brand new fire hall on Belinda Parkway in south Mt. Juliet. Last December FDMJ began to share Wilson Emergency Management Agency Station 3 behind Mt. Juliet City Hall for a second base of operations. Also, a fire engine is located on Lebanon Road and manned by volunteer firefighters when necessary.

However, there is a need for a permanent, new fire station on the north side of town, according to fire and city officials, so all citizens are covered.

Recently, the current Lamb Brothers location on Nonaville Road was pinpointed for a possible third site; however, city leaders wanted "better suited" sites, according to Martin. When considering the Lamb Brothers building, the deal may have included some type of "swap" for city-owned land, plus hefty costs to remodel the existing building into a fire hall.

He said while the Lamb Brothers location seemed a good fit, he believes the "intent of the commission is to provide equity for the city on the north side as they did with the south side."

"It's a brand new station on Belinda Parkway," he said. "It should be equally brand new on the north side, in fairness."

The sites on the short list in north Mt. Juliet were on the Lebanon, Nonaville and South Greenhill roads area.

Martin explained the city-owned property up for sale to help pay for the third station are the former Sellars Funeral Home, worth $1.2 million, the lot adjacent to the Sellars Funeral Home worth $400,000 and a parcel on Belinda Parkway worth $700,000.

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FDMJ, Fire Department of Mt. Juliet, Mt. Juliet, public safety
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