Fort Mill Fire Chief Chip Wilkerson and Mayor Guynn Savage speak at Monday's ground-breaking for Fire Station #2. (Photo by Greg Rickabaugh)

Fort Mill officials broke ground Monday on the town’s second fire station, set to open in spring 2020.

The $4 million station – across from Catawba Ridge High School on Fort Mill Parkway – will include two apparatus bays, sleeping quarters, an exercise room, full kitchen and meeting room, according to Tony Laskey, project manager with Southern Builders. It also will provide a substation for the police department.

“Today, we have 45 employees in our fire department,” Mayor Guynn Savage said. “This new fire station will allow better insurance rates in this end of town where we are continuing to see growth. It will allow great response times that we all expect. It will allow training opportunities. It will allow a police touchdown station. All of that, and we will be covering the cost with impact fees from the growth impact that has occurred here, and capital funds.”

The land for the station was donated to the town by Pace Development Group.

“It’s a great day,” said Fort Mill Fire Chief Chip Wilkerson said. “We have had some years of planning and getting this to fruition. But we are real close.”

Councilman Chris Moody said there was once debate about adding a garage to a temporary fire station nearby that was once a residential home.

“I really wanted a full stand-alone station instead of a house, one that could last 75 to 100 years, and move it out here to the bypass area,” Moody said. “We got a free lot. You can’t beat that.”

Councilman James Shirey said it is never a good idea to turn a residential area into a commercial building. “For the amount of money we were going to throw at that, you throw another $500K at it, you can get a full-on building,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman was also present for Monday’s ground-breaking ceremony. The federal government provided a grant that has assisted in firefighter training in Fort Mill.

Mayor Savage said the town’s fire department was once all-volunteer. Now, they have a second fire station and will possibly need a third in the coming years.

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