The property is on Grace Drive, off U.S. 411 East between the Riverside car dealership and Jameson Inn.
City officials say it’s close enough to preserve the existing ISO ratings that determine property owners’ insurance costs. County officials contend it needs to be farther east to provide coverage to the Bartow County line.
“It’s really a complicated issue,” Floyd County Commissioner Garry Fricks said. “But my point is, let’s cover the area we know is going to grow in the future.”
The 1996 special purpose, local option sales tax package contained $788,000 to move the Wax Road Fire Station, but area residents successfully petitioned in 2004 to have it left where it is. The Floyd County and Rome city commissions then started looking at places they could fill gaps in coverage.
Fricks noted that the original debate was between sites on Callier Springs and Mathis roads, and Grace Road is even closer to the city limits than Callier Springs.
“That’s more than four miles from the county line that will probably never be covered, and we just spent $4 million in (2006) SPLOST money to buy frontage roads to promote development in that area,” Fricks said.
But Rome also has some shifting to do, after the 2009 SPLOST funded a transformation of the East 12th Street fire station into an emergency operations center.
Rome-Floyd County Fire Chief Gordon Henderson has said the Grace Drive site would meet the spacing requirements to replace that coverage and beef up protection for the subdivisions on Chulio Road.
There is some concern that if Rome’s ISO 3 rating drops to 4 then Floyd County’s ISO 5 rating would drop to 6, but Fricks said he wants more information about the situation.
He and County Commissioner John Mayes got a briefing last week about the coverage area maps and other issues that played into the site selection.
Mayes said the Grace Drive site appears to be the only one under consideration now, but the County Commission has not yet taken a stance.
“I think the city laid out a fairly good case for using that location,” he said. “But until the other commissioners have the opportunity to weigh in, I don’t think we’ll be making any solid decisions.”
Fricks said he’s studying the documentation provided but doesn’t expect it to be discussed during the board’s upcoming Dec. 11 meeting.