Danville City Commission's decision to purchase fire station site raises questions

March 14, 2004

Dear Editor:

At the Danville City Commission meeting Monday, the commission voted to purchase the Tommy Owens property for the new southend fire station. The vote was three in favor, two against.

The action of the commission in approving this purchase raises many questions.

Since Commissioner Gay indicated that the price of the Owens property increased significantly during the negotiation period, why did some commissioners and Mayor Bowling continue to pursue this option?

From the information presented at the meeting, it appeared that both the Owens property and the Belinda Drive property were viable options. Unfortunately, the taxpayers will never know the price of the Belinda Drive property. Would this have been a more cost-effective option?


Certainly, when the city makes other significant purchases, they go through a bidding process. When all things are equal, we choose the least-expensive option.

There also was some confusion over how Fire Chief Thomas felt about which was the more desirable site. Since Chief Thomas was present at the meeting, why wasn't he asked to comment before the vote was taken?

The mayor's stated reason for opposing the Belinda Drive site was the thought that there could be traffic problems on Belinda Drive, particularly on a Friday night. Was a formal traffic study made to identify potential problems with either of the sites?

At the same meeting Monday, there was considerable discussion regarding the need for a formal traffic study in connection with the Davis property rezoning. Why shouldn't a traffic study be required for the fire station plan?

Just as the taxpayers need to be concerned by the problems exposed by the recent financial audit, we need to be assured that our money is being spent wisely on capital improvements. The purchase of this property raises many concerns.

Gordon S. Howe


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