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New Police/Fire Station on 11th Street?

by Walker County News Today staff

At its regular meeting last week, the Huntsville City Council began a process that could result in the City building its proposed new combined police and fire station at the site of the old City Hospital on 11th Street across from the Wynne Home.

After an Executive Session and no previous public discussion, Councilmember Keith Olson moved that the Council accept an offer from the Walker County Hospital District to sell the Ella Smither property at the corner of 11th Street and Avenue O for the sum of $2.25 Million and to proceed to enter into an earnest money contract for the property.

The motion drew an immediate objection from Councilmember Ronald Allen:   “I’m against paying that kind of money. I’m going to vote no on purchasing this land for the police and fire complex. I do not think this is a good location, especially for a fire station. I cannot vote on spending over $2 million of taxpayer money when we already own land that would not cost taxpayers a dime. There’s no way that I can justify this expenditure.”

Councilmember Olson responded:  “After the sales of the other two properties, on the small end, the city would net over $800,000 in positive revenue. The taxpayers would most likely have more money, than they would have less. That’s why I authorize this and hope everyone supports it as well. This would place police and fire in the best quadrant of the town.”

City Attorney Leonard Schneider noted that the Council’s decision to approve the earnest money contract would not constitute a final decision by the Council to buy the property. That would require a separate action that could only be taken after two readings in open session.

The Council voted to approve entering into the earnest money contract by a vote of 6-1 with Councilmember Allen voting “No.”


In a separate but related move the Council conducted the first of two readings to consider awarding the design contact for the new combined police and fire station to Architects Design Group, a Florida-based company.  This Company was selected from a group of 17 who responded to a formal Request for Qualifications (RFQ) competition held by the City in 2017.


  1. Idiots all except for Allen. Why is an person with no visible means of support and no credibility listened to unless he is a puppet of the Gibbs Mafia which is desperate to get rid of the toxic junk that will require another million dollars in site prep and then is right up against traffic grid lock.

  2. Allen is the only one with any sense, and is the only one who truly cares for Huntsville! He has shown it time and time again in the face of much opposition from the rest of council!
    Benoit is finally gone!! (Thank God!) And I am so glad Keith Olson will be gone too at the end of this current term! Enough is ENOUGH!! Olson and the rest of council think our tax dollars are their personal checkbook. None of the council, except maybe Olson, would spend their personal or business funds the way they spend our tax dollars!! (Sad but true!)

  3. This place is the worst location and not big enough to house two entities in one facility site.
    During the day, especially around 5 PM, 11th Street is bumper to bumper traffic. Being apart of the Huntsville Fire Department, I can tell you that during rush hour on 11th St and on Sam Houston Ave. it’s a delay in response every time the trucks roll because of the location and having to fight traffic to get out of the parking lot.
    The trucks need space to maneuver and on top of this, drill nights have to have an accommodating space to allow for the firefighters to train.
    In my opinion, the station needs to be more on the north side of town.
    Currently there is one unmanned tanker that is housed at the city service center. In years past, 3 trucks were housed at this location until the city made the decision to boot two of the apparatuses out to make a file/storage room in two of the bays. This station gets a response from the volunteer side of the department with a good many of the volunteers living on the north side of Huntsville. With the industries, prisons and commercial traffic on 45, there is a need for a station to be put near this area.
    Currently, there are 4 stations. Station 1, which is on Veteran’s Memorial near Elkins Lake, Spring Lake Subdivisions and the Hospital. This station houses a bunker program for volunteers to live on site , a ladder truck, an engine and a Haz Mat response unit along with Walker County EMS. This station is not manned 24/7.
    Station 2, which is on Sam Houston Ave. near the SHSU and is manned 24/7 with an engine, a ladder, a tanker, a rescue and a booster. An EMS ambulance is also housed here.
    Station 3, which is at the city service center on SH 75 across from the HEARTS Museum, unmanned and houses a tanker.
    Station 4, which is unmanned, on SH 30 E. near Fish Hatchery Rd., houses two engines and also has an EMS ambulance stationed here as well.
    So, with all the commercial property, businesses and prisons, along with the 100K vehicles that travel up and down IH 45 day and night, the need is here and the location needs to be on the northwest side of Huntsville.
    With the growth that we’re taking on, it’s only a matter of time before the city needs to implement a second full time 24/7 manned station for Huntsville.
    Chief Tom Grisham, who is retiring after over 30 years service to the City of Huntsville Fire Department has done an outstanding job and we are proud to have served with him and his accomplishments. However, we all know the struggles and turmoil he faced with past city councils to fund more firefighters and get better equipment.
    We are still small town America, but even small town America has to prepare for the future. Just take a look at Conroe. They have 6 stations with one more being built.
    It wasn’t that long ago that our population was similar to theirs, after 20 years, it bloomed significantly and they don’t even have a university in their town.
    So, once again, the need is there, the city has property in the vicinity. The property just has to be big enough to support the activities and day to day operations. This is why the proposed location is definitely not the right location for either department, let alone a fire station.

  4. Why on Earth would anyone think a building that age would be acceptable for a new fire station and police station? As Mr. Countz so eloquently stated, the logistics of that location is a nightmare for first responders. Other than that, our community deserves a state of the art, thoughtfully built location with enough room for future growth. The money wasted on updating this blighted building would be better served with more officers and firefighters on the streets with the best equipment and resources we can get them so they can safely and effectively do their jobs!

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