(Memphis) People in North Memphis celebrated a small victory against city hall Friday night, because the doors of fire station 6 will stay open for now.
The station was supposed to close in September, but after officials reached a compromise, it will stay open through fiscal year 2014.
“This is one of the most wonderful feelings I’ve had in a long time,” Linda Ward, who fought to keep station 6 open, said.
Friday was the big payoff.
“That station is going to stay open,” Lee Harris said.
You might call it a creative compromise.
“It is a fragile tight rope when you are trying to figure out how to shrink government, save taxpayer resources, but also provide levels of public safety that makes everybody comfortable,” Harris said.
Instead of closing fire station 6, fire director Alvin Benson decided keep it open, although with a smaller staff.
Fire suppression equipment and personnel will be relocated as planned.
“He’s going to move some equipment out of that station, move some firemen out of that station, but he is going to leave equipment in that station to make sure that station can respond to the type of needs that community has,” Harris said.
The station will provide emergency services and medical care.
“There are a large number of elderly residents in that area and the majority of calls to that station are medical calls,” Fire Department Director Alvin Benson said.
This was always the biggest concerned for Ward.
“This is an area that has been here a very, very long time,” she said. “And it’s consumed by the elderly…we depend on these guys.”
She says Friday is a day city government worked, because “hey were listening to what we were saying.”
“People came out, were listened to and city government responded. That’s how it should be,” Ward said.
Benson will lay out all the details of his plan for fire station 6 on Tuesday.
Keeping the station open past FY2014 will depend on funding and the strategic planning outcome.
Ladder Truck 22’s decommissioning and “brown outs” will still take effect September 1st.