COLUMBIA — Roughly 20 people gathered in the cafeteria of Derby Ridge Elementary School Tuesday night to hear the plans for Fire Station No. 9, which will be built at the intersection of Blue Ridge and Providence roads.
Once opened, the station is expected to answer at least one emergency call a day, said Columbia Fire Chief William Markgraf.
"We are really counting on this site making a significant difference to the response efforts in Columbia," he said.
A video presentation was made to the public that showed the layout of the fire station and how it would look whenbuilt. The station will feature "drive through" garages that will allow trucks to pull through instead of having to back out of a garage when responding to an emergency.
Markgraf said plans for the fire station were made with the look of surrounding neighborhoods in mind. The station will feature brick, different types of cement siding and brick wainscoting.
When the presentation was finished, Markgraf took questions from the audience. Most of the questions focused on traffic and the fire trucks' access to the street. Markgraf said there were no plans for a light to warn drivers of fire truck crossings. Some residents were also concerned about the noise levels.
"We make noise," Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Witt said. "We do everything we can to recognize that we have neighbors. We want to be good neighbors."
David Wilson, president of the Vandiver Crossing Home Owners Association, said the he enjoyed learning more information about the fire station.
"I appreciate the Fire Department having this open forum and for being willing to answer questions," Wilson said. "I think what we have here is a good plan."
Dawn Spry, a resident of Prairie Hills subdivision, agreed.
"The meeting went really well. The site looks great," Spry said. "I have been to the other fire stations, and this is a definite upgrade. It also looks like it is well-suited for the firefighters."
The fire station is scheduled to open in October 2009. Markgraf said that it would be fitting to hold the opening during Fire Prevention Week, which falls in October.