West End Fire Station

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

To build or not to build? To borrow or not to borrow? Those are two questions causing a heated debate in Waynesboro.

Sparks are flying over when to build a fire substation on Waynesboro's West End.

"We can't wait until we lose a life to address these issues, we are already at a critical situation," said Vice Mayor Nancy Dowdy. "Our response time is too long."

"In 1985 it took us 8 minutes to get to the West End, in 1986 it took 8 minutes, in 2006 it takes 8 minutes," said Councilman Reo Hatfield. "If you chose to build your house on the West End you have to recognize that distance."

Dowdy said the city should borrow, it can't afford to wait.

"We need to move forward, we need to make it happen, whatever needs to be done we need to do it," she explained. "Sitting around saying we need to wait until we can afford it is not making a commitment to the safety of this community."

Hatfield said the city can't afford to do it right now, but should wait for more economic development money to flow in.

"There is no doubt we will need a West End fire department," he explained. "We've needed it since 1985. I just need to figure out how to pay for it and that what I am going to do first, being able to pay for it before we build it."

Hatfield said he won't support it now just to get votes, while Dowdy said it is not a campaign issue but a safety one.

As far as the other candidates go, both Lorie Smith and DuBose Egleston Jr. do support prioritizing the West End fire station. Pat Steele said he has not yet formed an opinion.

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