Old Fort to invest half-million in station

  • Thursday, August 1, 2013

Old Fort Fire Department plans to purchase its currently leased fire station – Station 4 at 936 Orangeburg Road – and refurbish it to update and improve the building.
The department has leased the site, which was constructed in 1989, for years, according to Walter “Skip” Elliot, chairman of the Old Fort Fire Department Board of Directors. When the property came up for sale, the department decided to buy it.
The purchase price, according to Elliot at a public hearing Monday, is $350,000. The fire department is working with the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Authority to get a loan under its Community Facilities Loan Program.
According to the USDA RDA, “Community Facilities Programs provide loans, grant and loan guarantees for essential community facilities in rural areas. Priority is given to health care, education and public safety projects. Typical projects are hospitals, health clinics, schools, fire houses, community centers and many other community-based initiatives.”
USDA RD Area Specialist Nickie Toomes was at the public hearing and said the point of the loan program was to improve service to the public in rural areas.
Old Fort is looking to borrow up to $650,000 over 38 years with no prepayment penalty, which will cover the purchase and renovations of the site. The interest rate, according to Toomes, will be the lesser of two – the rate on the day of commitment/obligation and the rate on the day of closing. The USDA sets its own interest rates that change on a quarterly basis, she said.
The department board expects to meet and sign a letter of conditions Thursday, which is a commitment to borrowing.
Improvements at the site will include upgrades to the facility such as additional generators, exhaust systems for each bay, ADA compliance, a new roof, an awning, new sod, remote operation for bay doors and new concrete and parking lot rehab.
No members of the public attended the hearing.

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