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LAKE WYLIE --
Bethel Fire Department and York County Council continue taking steps to bring a new fire station to the Lake Wylie area.
In January, Council passed first reading of an ordinance that would help provide land for the station beside its current location at S.C. 557 and Oakridge Road.
A public hearing and second reading were planned for Monday, Feb. 4, before the Pilot’s press deadline.
“That reading is to put four plats together to make one property,” said Michael Laws, Bethel chief. “Our membership voted, yes, that we wanted to do that and we were willing to do that.”
Council in the fall approved property just beside the existing station for a 1,400-square-foot facility with space for five trucks. Next to the property is land owned by the Clover School District. Funding for the project would come from Bethel’s local fire tax.
“I have very high hopes for it,” Laws said of the project. “I’ve got the paperwork. I just have to get with the county attorney and sign it when the time is right, and we’ll be moving forward.”
The plan all along has been to begin the project this spring, something Laws sees as a target.
“Right now, my project manager is telling me we will most likely be breaking ground in spring,” he said. “We’re really excited.”
County Councilman Bruce Henderson represents the area, and said “it’s time” to provide for the new station.
“There are a few more things we still need to weed through, but I believe ultimately it’s going to happen,” Henderson said. “It needs to.”
The long-time station there is “obsolete” and “substandard” in response to recent residential and business growth in the area, and more growth Henderson sees coming. Similar efforts countywide, such as the discussed addition of jail space in Fort Mill, are aimed at providing safety for a growing number of residents in the smartest way possible, Henderson said.
“It’s a sense of security,” he said. “You know there’s someone there to help.”
The Feb. 4 Council meeting had other matters related to area fire service, too. Public hearings were planned for substations in the Sharon and Smyrna volunteer districts.
An architectural and engineering firm also was to be selected for a planned countywide training facility.