Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh seeks new fire station site after neighborhood rejection

The Harden Road area has a problem: The city wants to build a fire station at its edge.

Fire Station 14’s current location on Lake Boone Trail is deteriorating, without enough square footage to serve its needs, according to the city. Raleigh bought land at 3510 Harden Road in October for $590,000, hoping to site a replacement station there, but neighbors worried about sirens and traffic on their streets, and argued other sites were more accessible for firetrucks.

Hearing that concern, the city is looking for a new site. The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday deferred discussion of Fire Station 14, giving city staff more time.

The proposed replacement site sits south of medical offices and across from an under-construction private school on the west side of a neighborhood.

Some residents, such as Tom West, secretary of the Meredith Woods Homeowners Association, want the station moved to the intersection of Harden Road and Blue Ridge Road, about 500 yards west.

However, the city hasn’t had much luck with landowners near there. The Beach family rejected the city’s offer of $2.5 million for land on the southeast corner of Blue Ridge and Harden roads. The family wants $8 million, Councilman Wayne Maiorano said in a committee meeting. The city has considered forcing a sale through eminent domain, which could take as long as a year.

The city also has had “negative results” in its talks with the state of North Carolina and the N.C. Museum of Art. Both own potential fire-station sites on Blue Ridge Road. The fire station would serve a radius as large as 2.5 miles.

In a Jan. 27 meeting of the Public Works Committee, Councilman John Odom encouraged the city to go after the Beach land. Maiorano expressed doubts, saying land costs might make the current site a wiser choice. Councilman Eugene Weeks agreed, but all three council members supported further study.

An answer may be some time in coming. The Raleigh Fire Department has been working on plans for the new station for two years, and perhaps can wait another year, according to city staff.