After a several-hour discussion, the Roanoke City Council decided Monday afternoon to move forward with plans to demolish Fire Station 7 in Grandin Village and rebuild another station its place.
“This is a win win for the community. It really is. I think the community is going to have a nice fire station. It’s time to get it underway, get the designs, get the bids out, get it built,” said David Hoback, Roanoke City Fire Chief.
The first row of seats in the council chambers was filled with firefighters who support building a new station in the place of the old station.
“Because it’s going to allow us to be able to do our job as efficiently or better than we have in the past with a new building and a new station, and it will allow us to help serve them,” said Drew Abel with the Roanoke Firefighter’s Association.
The emergency personnel told the council that the building, erected in 1922, is small and out-of-date.
Several supporters spoke to the council and pointed to the station’s rich history.
“Well, I think it was a hasty decision. We had two viable options in front of us. One would save the station, and the other demolished it. Either one would provide first rate fire and EMS to Roanoke. There were a few unanswered questions, and I think with just another week or two council could’ve made a much more informed decision,” said Mark Lynn Ferguson who started an online petition.
“It’s easy to say we want both safety and history. Of course, we do. We have two options and I think we have to pay serious attention to the question of which option is safer and more efficient,” said Roanoke City Councilman William Bestpitch.
The council had already voted to tear down the station in November of 2017. But after an outcry from the community, including a petition and several yard signs, the council chose to discuss another option to add on to the building.
New councilwoman Djuna Obsborne said she initially sided with those wanting to preserve the building. She announced Monday she wanted to proceed to with the rebuild of the station.
Watch the meeting here: