"Tainted lot good for new station" You have to read this!!
The contaminated site was chosen for a fire station because it was unfit for residential use.
By Todd Jackson
The Roanoke Times
The site for a new downtown Roanoke fire station is a contaminated "brown field," so that's a perfect reason why it's a great location for the public use, city officials said Monday.
The city council unanimously approved an agreement between Roanoke and the state Department of Environmental Quality that cleans up the site and places limits on its use. The city, in developing the site at the northeast corner of Elm Avenue and Franklin Road, discovered a buried fuel tank that dates to a former gas station on the site. The soils at 301 Elm Ave. S.W. were also tested and found to contain solvents and chemicals from a former dry cleaning establishment there, City Manager Darlene Burcham said.
So the city, as it often does in urban redevelopment projects, entered into a voluntary program with the state to prepare the site. It also agreed that the property will be used for an accepted public or commercial purpose - and not for residential development or a day care center. State and federal law provides for certain uses on so-called "brown field" sites while prohibiting uses that could pose a greater potential long-term health hazard.
Burcham and City Councilman Rupert Cutler said the Franklin/Elm location is ideal for the $4.5 million fire station because it takes a vacant piece of contaminated land and gives it a positive public purpose.
"It's a very appropriate use of this site," Cutler said.
The council's decision Monday was another step toward the implementation of a Fire-EMS master plan - years in the works - in which several new stations would be built while several older ones are closed, including the historic downtown Station No. 1. The building at 13 E. Church Ave. S.E. is believed to be the oldest working fire station in Virginia.
One city councilman is now openly opposing the Franklin/Elm site, partly because of the proposed closing of Station No. 1. Brian Wishneff said he voted with the rest of his council colleagues Monday on the environmental agreement because too much time and effort has been expended on the new station to this point.
However, Wishneff said he's not sold on the details of the master plan, predominately the closing of Station No. 1. Wishneff is a consultant who specializes in historic tax credit projects, and he's been a prominent part of preservation efforts, notably his public fight to save Victory Stadium. Wishneff said Monday that the Franklin/Elm site is a terrible place for a fire station because it's a prominent location at a major intersection that should be marketed for private development.
Wishneff, who's been on the council for one year, said he wants to hear the city administration outline its reasoning for the Fire-EMS plan, particularly the closing of Fire Station No. 1. He also said he'd like the administration to poll the historic station's employees to gather their feedback on the issue.
Firefighters Association President Rodney Jordan has also questioned whether the station should be closed.
Check out www.roanokefirefighters.blogspot.com for further information on the closing of Station #1.
If you would like to help us and petition the City Council here are the email address's. Thanks
These are my comments
"In an article in the Roanoke Times today Todd Jackson writes about the contaminated site that was chose for a fire station because it was unfit for residential use. I have news for the City Council, citizens involved, and everyone else : Firefighters live at the fire station. I think that sums up the building actually being residential. How would you feel if you were made to live under these conditions that City Manager, City Council, and the State Department of Environmental Quality say is a contaminated "brown field" that has a buried fuel tank from a former gas station and also contains solvents and chemicals from a past dry cleaning business. I know that this is not to appealing to me, and for the next 19 years I will spend a third of my life in a fire house. That is right, firefighters spend a third of their life at the fire house. We work 56 hours a week, 52 weeks a year = 2912 hours a year or 1/3 of the year 24 hours at a time. That is residential I don't care how you look at it. So how can the City Officials let this be? Well it seems as though they do not put very much stock in their loyal public servants. It seems as though they will close down station #1 and continue with the consolidation plan at any expense. Will it effect the firefighters? Who knows? I for one certainly do not want to find out 20 years from now that working at that station improved my chances of getting cancer. As you know firefighters are already at an increased threat of getting most common cancers. So this is GREAT news.
"So the city, as it often does in urban redevelopment projects, entered into a voluntary program with the state to prepare the site. It also agreed that the property will be used for an accepted public or commercial purpose - and not for residential development or a day care center. State and federal law provides for certain uses on so-called "brown field" sites while prohibiting uses that could pose a greater potential long-term health hazard."
-Todd Jackson "Tainted lot good for new station" Roanoke Times, Virginia Section Tuesday, July 19, 2005.
This makes me sick, to find out this is really what Officials think of the brave men and women(firefighters) who serve the citizens and visitors of Roanoke City and are willing to risk life and limb on their behalf.
And yes Brian Wishneff I think that the administration to poll the historic station's employees to gather their feedback on the issue.(relating to closing down station #1)
Maybe they should invest some money in getting proper exhaust fans in the station bays. I work at a station that has no exhaust fans at all. That means when we pull out of the station all of that diesel exhaust fills the station, then when we get back we get to live in it and breathe in it. So what is being done to combat that problem? Some stations have the equivalent of an attic fan or a box fan put in a window. Let me tell you, that really gets the job done.
It just goes to show you how the firefighters, who work for the #1 department in the city (voted on by the citizens), are being treated. It really makes you want to strive to be a better employee. Yet another step by the city that breeds mediocrity."