As Dothan grows, services like fire response must follow, which is why officials plan on constructing three new fire stations within the next several years.
Dothan’s six-year capital plan reveals budgeting for the construction of Fire Station No. 10 and the relocation of Fire Station No. 3, which is currently in front of Westgate Park. The document also records steps toward the construction of Fire Station No. 11, though fire officials have not determined which district it will be located, Dothan Fire Department Chief Larry Williams said Thursday.
The first two projects will ensure the western side of Dothan – both inside and outside Ross Clark Circle – receives proper fire response, especially as the city’s population shifts westward.
Design of the Fire Station No. 10 project could take place in the 2021 fiscal year with construction on the $4 million facility in the 2022 fiscal year. The city has purchased land at the intersection of Girard Avenue and West Main Street for the facility in an effort to cover the inner portions of the Circle better.
“The Westgate station reaches all the way to First United Methodist Church,” Williams said. “That is quite a haul, especially at high traffic.”
The creation of this fire station could lead to 18 more jobs at a cost of $1.5 million per year. Outfitting the station with equipment could cost an additional $1.2 million.
Almost simultaneously with No. 10’s construction, officials plan the design of the No. 3 station relocation. The Dothan City Commission purchased four tracts of land off Whatley and Obrannan Park drives in August 2018 for $650,000 for the project.
Moving the Westgate Parkway station serves two purposes, as it will provide better coverage of the Chapelwood subdivision, the largest in the city, and relocates the station off a congested roadway, Williams said. The station would also alleviate some of the responsibilities of Fire Station No. 8, which is now covering major subdivision development in the Bethlehem Road area.
Officials project construction of the new Fire Station No. 3 to begin in the 2023 fiscal year.
Williams and other officials anticipate needing an 11th fire station if growth continues, and the capital improvement plan notes land purchases for that could occur in the 2024 fiscal year with design of the project following in the 2025 fiscal year.
The shifting of the fire stations ensures the department uses its resources properly and reduces response times, a major factor in Insurance Service Office ratings, Williams said. Currently Dothan’s department has earned an ISO Class 1 score, the highest possible and a rare feat.