Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell said the redevelopment project has been on the town’s list of larger investment projects for at least 10 years.
“We don’t often find the funds to do these projects,” Bell said. “It’s very difficult.”
Interim fire Chief Matthew Sullivan said the facilities of the Hamilton Road Fire Station have been outdated for a long time. Sullivan said the station hasn’t been in the best shape since it was built in the 1950s, when there were very few in the fire service, and the station is too small to accommodate their current work force.
“The systems are antiquated,” Sullivan said. “It’s like if you had a 50-year-old house — there’s lots of things you want to change. A new fire station will allow us to maximize all our resources.”
When the cramped quarters are expanded at the Hamilton Road station, it will allow the Chapel Hill Fire Department to position more resources at a very ideal location near the university.
“It improves our existing facilities and strategically positions us in a very important location for the future as far as growth and development,” Sullivan said.
Bell said one of the benefits of the redeveloped station is that it will allow the town to provide better protection to its residents. Bell said another benefit is the cost of the redevelopment, which will be significantly less since the town has partnered with a private developer.
“The unique part about this redevelopment is public-private partnership,” Sullivan said. “The town is partnering with a developer who has interest in commercial office space in the place.”