Neighbors putting heat on mayor over planned fire station site

MAUMELLE (KATV) -- In Maumelle neighbors are putting heat onthe mayor, voicing their disappointment about the potential location of a newfire station.

Near the corner of ClubManor Drive and Odom Boulevard there is a vacant lot zoned as open space. Sincethe city owns the land already it wants to place a new fire station there, butfrankly people who live here don't want it.

While the lot across fromKroger may look empty, it's filled with criticism over a potential fire stationbeing built on it.

"Well, I'd like tosell my house. Would you like to buy my house," said Maumelle resident KelleyOgelesby.

Plans to replace firststation number two would take place in the peaceful backyard of Ogelesby's homeof 17 years. She says kids often use the field to play in, but she also hasother concerns.

"Well yes I don'twant the noise, and I don't object to the fire department, but not right here,"she added.

After going through theplanning commission, a resolution to put a new fire station near the neighborhoodis being presented at Monday night's city council agenda.

Alderman Preston Lewissaid he plans to try and pass an extension so the council can look at differentoptions.

"Was thereconsideration of an alternative property, and right now I can't say that. Idon't think that we have seriously considered this in the last five years as toan alternative, and that's unfortunate," Lewis said.

Mayor Mike Watson said a2005 study showed this location next to Kroger is the best proximity to replacethe current fire station number two, and it needs to be done as soon aspossible.

"If it's longer than30 to 60 days it could start impacting things such as weather, and as far astrying to get the station dried in before winter hits this year," Watson said.

Numbers from 2013 show Maumelleisn't a city prone to many fires. Mayor Watson said of the 1,500 calls its firedepartment responded to in 2013, 70 percent of those were medical emergenciesand not fires.