Mayor Kasim Reed and Councilwoman Cleta Winslow officially announced that the city will renovate and reopen Fire Station 7 at a ceremony on Tuesday morning.
The ceremony was held at the station located on the corner of West Whitehall and Oak in the city’s West End neighborhood.
For five years, emergency calls from the West End community were being handled by multiple other fire stations throughout the city. Residents began to complain about long response times.
“We were in dire need of a fire station,” Anna Davis, a longtime resident of the West End, told the Daily World. “Now that the station is being reopened, it makes me feel like our voice was heard, like someone actually cares about our community.”
Established in 1910, this particular fire station served the West End and surrounding communities including Mechanicsville, Mozley Park and Castleberry for nearly a century. The station closed in 2008 as a result of economic hardships and budget cuts.
Fire Station 7 was the city’s longest running fire station.
“It is important that we restore this vital landmark to improve public safety and give the people a sense of comfort,” said Reed.
The city’s Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran, expressed deep gratitude as the announcement of the reopening was made.
“Announcing the closure of this fire station was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do,” said Cochran. “There is no amount of words to express my joy over this reopening.”
The Atlanta City Council took a final vote to fund Station 7 for renovations late last month.
Because of the building’s old age and extensive asbestos removal, the mayor says the total cost for the renovations will be nearly $2.5 million. The cost will be covered by a combination of donations and city funds.
Winslow noted that the President of the City Council, Ceasar Mitchell, was very instrumental in allocating funds for the renovation.
Various neighborhood organizations such as the West End Merchant Coalition and West End Neighborhood Development Association have also been steadfast in their commitment to restore the historic fire station.
Capital City Bank, located about one block from the station, held a fundraiser for Fire Station 7 and was able to bring in more than $30,000.
“Mayor Reed is indeed a friend of the community,” said Frank Simmons, the bank’s vice president. “On behalf of Capital City Bank, I want to give thanks to the mayor for keeping his word on reopening our fire station.”
According to Mayor Reed, the renovations are expected to be completed and the station will be open by the end of the year.