Nearly two years after hiring an architect to design a new fire station for the Pleasant Valley Fire Department, the department has finally found a piece of land to put it on.
The new fire station will be built on Possum Hollow Road, near the Fox Ridge residential development.
The Pleasant Valley Fire Department has been searching for property for a new fire station for nearly two years. Right now, the station sits on leased land on Hwy. 160 East, a few miles from Hwy. 521. When the second phase of the Hwy. 160 widening project is complete, the land will be overtaken by the road and the fire station will have to move.
Construction on the new station will be paid for out of the $75 special tax district fee levied on residents of the Pleasant Valley area of Indian Land for enhanced fire service.
Alan Patterson, head of the Pleasant Valley Fire Commission, has been involved with the land search from the beginning.
"It just feels like a weight's been lifted, and for the residents and the folks that have been paying the $75 special tax district fund, they are finally going to see something real happen, and it's going to happen fairly quick," Patterson said.
The fire station will sit on three acres of land on Possum Hollow. One acre of land was donated by owner Ron Olsen. The additional two acres were purchased from Olson for $200,000. The Pleasant Valley Fire Department originally expected to pay for the land with $200,000 received from Merrifield Partners, developers of Bailes Ridge.
Merrifield Partners offered a piece of land in Bailes Ridge to the fire department in 2007. When the department deemed the land unfit because of topographical issues, Merrifield Partners agreed to give the department $100,000 an acre for the two-acre property, in exchange for returning the land.
But an IRS regulation prevents Merrifield Partners and the fire department from making that exchange until 2009, according to County Administrator Steve Willis. That's because of restrictions on the transfer of donated property. Instead, the Lancaster County Council voted to loan the fire department $200,000 for the purchase of the Olson property. The council will be refunded when the exchange between Merrifield and the fire department takes place next year.
Patterson said the fire department will officially close on the land at the end of December and hopes to have construction complete within 18 months.
The fire department will also be closing on property on Harrisburg Road at that time. That property will be used for a future substation of the Pleasant Valley Fire Department, but construction on that property will not begin until the main fire station is complete.
"The ball is in our court now so we can move rapidly on it," Patterson said. "The guys who service and protect us are ready to get moving."