Marion County commissioners and members of the community cut the ribbon Thursday on a new fire station that took 20 years and three fire chiefs to complete.
Rolling Greens Fire Station #28 is the newest addition to Marion County Fire Rescue stations that span across the county. Located at 5907 Cherry Road, the station is now one of more than 30 operated by Marion County Fire Rescue.
During Thursday morning’s ceremony, Marion County Fire Rescue Chief James Banta indicated the project had been in the works for over two decades.
“Before we started this morning, I had the opportunity to speak to predecessors of mine, and they note that it’s literally taken 20 years and three fire chiefs to make this project come to fruition today,” said Banta.
Banta credited a team of volunteers for assuming fire rescue responsibilities in the community, which had its first station built more than 30 years ago in 1987. The new station is over twice as big as the old one at nearly 8,000 square feet. The new station houses 18 firefighters/paramedics and EMTs.
“Their diligent efforts paved the way for Marion County Fire Rescue to provide professional services to this community and the surrounding areas,” said Banta, of the volunteers that began fire rescue efforts in the community years ago.
During the ceremony, Marion County Commission Chairwoman Michelle Stone, who was joined by her fellow commissioners Carl Zalak, David Moore, Jeff Gold, and Kathy Bryant, attributed the new station to the penny sales tax. The project, which costs $2.4 million to complete, joins a list of other projects that the county attributes to the Marion County Penny Sales Tax, including newly paved roads, and the purchase of new fire trucks, ambulances and police patrol vehicles.
“The Rolling Greens Fire Station was built from the ground up with the funds that we have collected from the penny sales tax,” said Stone.
Stone credits the Marion County Penny Sales Tax as being “instrumental in helping” the county enact various infrastructure and emergency service projects.
“Meeting Marion County’s growing public safety needs, that’s the very foundation and the promise of the penny sales tax,” added Stone.
According to Banta, the facility uses state-of-the-art equipment and will serve as a model for construction of future stations. One of the devices used is a new exhaust system that helps with the removal of carcinogens from the fire station after firefighters return from the field, which Banta credited with helping address cancer concerns in the industry.
“The exhaust is a state-of-the-art system to help prevent carcinogens from getting into the station,” said Banta.
The new station’s primary response zone is Rolling Greens, east Marion County and Silver Springs Shores, and the station will function as an aid for services needed in the city of Ocala.
For more information on the fire rescue team, its services, or stations and vehicles, visit the Marion County Fire Rescue webpage.