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City gets the ball rolling with several projects

Brookhaven aldermen are undertaking significant projects in the city — some of which have been years in the making — that will help with safety and quality of life issues for residents.

Aldermen this week approved a $12 million plan for improvements at the city’s airport. Aldermen voted 5-0 to borrow $600,000 on a five-year note to begin design and bidding on a new hangar. A long-term plan calls for the moving of the facility’s fuel farm and the terminal building. The city hopes to fund the work through loans, grants and state and federal dollars.

The board also recently firmed up plans for a new fire station to replace an inadequate facility on Willard Street. Brookhaven aldermen voted 5-0 at a Tuesday afternoon special-called meeting to advertise for bids for a contractor to begin construction.

What’s unique about this project is the location. The city will build the new facility in the existing Boling-Hoskins Motors building. While the city could have constructed a new station from the ground up, locating it in an abandoned building accomplishes two goals: it helps preserve a piece of the city’s past and it also turns an eyesore into something the city can be proud of.

Exposed wood beams and brick will be kept to bring out the old elements of the building and preserve it, engineer Ryan Holmes said.

“Basically, it will be a brand new building on the inside. We’re trying to maintain the history of the building externally,” Mayor Joe Cox said. “We could have gone out and built a concrete block building with a metal roof and metal sides, but we chose to go this route and maintain something, as far as the history.”

The city’s is using $625,000 in state funds to pay for the majority of the cost.

The city is also finally doing something about its animal shelter. A location for the new facility, a two-acre lot near the corner of Industrial Park Road and Old Hwy. 51, was recently chosen and construction should start in the coming months. The new shelter will have two rows of six pens, with a medical room, office, a feed and supply room and storage space. Fans will be installed to keep the 12 runs cool in the summer, though the office area will be air conditioned. The entire building will be heated.

Though it doesn’t sound like much, it’s a vast improvement over the current facility.

It is good to see city leaders working to accomplish these tasks. All of Brookhaven will benefit from these projects.