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RALPH ELLIS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The grassy field is no longer an official Roswell park, but don't tell kids in the Terramont subdivision. They play there every day.

"It's kind of a dog park," parent Jennifer Wagner said. "There's a garden out there, kids ride bikes and play ball."

But Terramont's "park" is endangered. Roswell wants to build a new fire station and the city-owned field is the top choice.

Fire Chief Ricky Spencer said the city started looking for a new site because it needs to shut down Fire Station No. 4 on Holcomb Bridge Road, about three-tenths of a mile east of the subdivision entrance.

The station is three decades old and in bad shape. A few months ago a truck backing into the station knocked a hole in a wall and revealed a serious termite infestation.

"There was nothing but sawdust in there," Spencer said. "It was eaten up."

Spencer said the station sits on about nine-tenths of an acre. The area is so small trucks must back into the bays, causing traffic slowdowns on busy Holcomb Bridge Road.

The tract beside Terramont is almost three acres, big enough to allow for drive-through truck bays. Spencer estimates a two-story station would cost between $2 million and $2.5 million. He said the city might build a small park or picnic area on the land.

"We want to be neighborhood friendly," he said.

Residents say the field was an actual city park until about eight years ago. Parks director Joe Glover said the park lost its parking lot when Holcomb Bridge Road was widened. The playground equipment became old and unsafe so the city took it out, along with the baseball field fencing, he said.

Only a dusty baseball backstop remains. Glover said the city mows the grass but considers the field "open space," not a park.

Terramont residents hope to talk the city into finding another spot or rebuilding on the current Fire Department site. They say traffic is already bad enough and that the construction noise would be bothersome, not to mention day-to-day life with an active station.

Some neighborhood moms, like Wagner, would like to see the field become a real park. Wagner traded e-mails in 2003 and 2004 with the Parks Department about making repairs and installing equipment, but said little came of it.

Jonathan and Rebecca Alford said they picked their house partly because the field promised quietness.

Now the couple is talking about selling the house.

"It would be a turnoff to me," Rebecca Alford said. "A fire station in your backyard? I don't want it."

Copyright 2010 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 29, 2010

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Can you say, "NIMBY? I knew you could!"

Fire Stations and land fills, two things nobody wants in the their backyards, I guess.

Greenman
To the so-called "rich" folks, we are just glorified sanitation workers. In the "poorer" neighborhoods, we are almost family, and they love having us "in their back yards".
That is true. Sad, but very true.

Greenman
I agree with Rob, I don't think the citizens should be faulted for expressing their opinion on how they want their neighborhood to be. Not going to gain enough response time to make a difference (3/10s mile) and loosing a park/community garden sucks. I love the fire dept. as much as the next guy, but I do enjoy my time away from the house as well. I like airplanes too, but that doesn't mean I want to have an airport next door.

Granted, I know nothing about the towns layout, other possible sites, or details other than what's in the story, and am merely speculating. But that's my .2 cents worth, that and a $1.50 should get you a cup of coffee :)
As much as the fire station may be needed, it's up to the citizens as to how and where they want their tax dollars spent.
it never fails they knock ya down every chance they get but damn when there house is on fire or they are in a car wreck or some kinda medical call then they want you there yesterday.........
Rob is right on on. There wasn't one bad word about the FD in the article. Think if it was your extended backyard in a neighborhood your kids thrived in and the municipal school district decided to build a bus yard and shop for 12 buses; similar design. Would you be right up your councilman's you-know-what when the news hit.? Open space is valuable and is taken for granted until it's gone. I sure hope the municipality shows some respect for the neighbors. Lord knows every neighborhood and every city council has it's peaches! Good luck Terramont.
Or knock down her house and make it the park! Ahhhh IRONY!!! =)
Well, this sure beats the city expropriating the land from some homeowners and kicking them out of their homes at a fraction of the value to build the station. But that 'threat' will just make them more mad.

The article says 3 acres... build the station on 2 acres, a city park that is an acre is a fair size if it is used properly.
Plan a play area and picnic benches.
(maybe fire truck theme play equipment or would that be adding insult to injury?)
Plant pine trees all around the sides and back to "hide" the building and staff parking lot from the park and resident's view all year round and design the outside of the new hall to fit in to the style of homes in the area (camoflage).
I know some towns in tourist destinations make new businesses do this when they are moving in to the area and they actually change their "cookie-cutter" look to fit in to the neighbourhood with positive results.
Design the architecture, brick colour, style, siding, roof shape, street sign, everything to fit-in or even add visual "classyness" to the area.
Make it a two story hall to maximize land use (you don't NEED to make it a sprawling one story monster hall do you?).
If the lot is on a corner, have a clever archetect design the drive-through station on a 45 degree angle to the corner. In on one street and out on the other. Would allow for the opportunity to dress up the side of the hall that faces the corner to look more 'residential' (landscaping, house like features, etc).

You can do more with less if you us use it creatively and give the residents back a smaller but more usable park.

The problem here is that the city has an obligation to build a new fire station, and the current site does not meet current requirements.

 

The city already owns the land it proposes to build the station on and it hasn't been designated, nor maintained as, a park in years.

 

I think the best possible answer here is for the residents who don't want the new station in "their backyard" to help the city find another location for the station. This may involve a donation of land by an owner, purchasing land from someone, or perhaps a land-swap (swapping the current location for another piece of property in the area). Can you say, "Fundraisers?" I knew you could!

 

Simply crossing your arms and saying "not here" is no solution, and the city's requirement to build the new station isn't going away.

 

By the way, I grew up in a neighborhood where when the roll-up doors on the fire station went up at 0200, we all heard them. Back then nobody complained about the fire station, in fact most residents embraced the station as part of what gave our neighborhood charm. Firemen were always cleaning something, or playing half-court basketball, or hanging out on the front bumper of the engines. We kids loved the fire station. My dad bought a scanner when I was 5 so we could hear what the calls were when the engines rolled out.

 

I think if the city does go ahead and build the station in the vacant lot, and hopefully a pocket park alongside it, the residents will come to embrace the station just like my old neighborhood did. Firefighters generally make good neighbors, and I think the residents there will see that after a time.

 

Greenman

Actually, the city doesn't have an "obligation" to build a new station.  They could simply close the existing station, relocate or disband the company quartered there, and let the neighborhood residents get their wish for no noise and no distraction.

 

It's not smart, but they could do it.

OK, Master hair-splitter: The requirement to provide fire protection to that part of the city remains.

 

You're right they could abandon the neighborhood by relocating the station to another part of town or disbanding the company altogether.

 

Enjoy your morning.

 

Greenman

 

 

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