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Franklin Manager updates county on new fire substation

Franklin Mayor Bob Scott and Franklin Town Manager Summer Woodard attended last week’s Macon County Board of Commissioners meeting to introduce new fire chief Ben Ormond. Chief Ormond’s first official day with the Franklin Fire Department was January 4, 2021. 

Chief Ormond began his career in eastern North Carolina with the Pactolus volunteer Fire Department in Pitt County. As a second-generation firefighter, he transitioned to municipal firefighting with the City of Greenville where he also worked as a paramedic and was a founding member of the NC Task Force 10 USAR Team. 

For the last 16 years of his career, his work has spanned the globe with various contract firefighting jobs in locations like Iraq, an international airport and an industrial facility in the US, and Diego Garcia located in the British Indian Ocean Territory where he served as Fire Chief for the US Naval Support Facility.

Woodard informed commissioners that one of Chief Ormond’s first projects will be overseeing the completion of the new Franklin Fire sub-station. 

“The Town of Franklin and Franklin Fire and Rescue have diligently worked to secure a sub-station for Franklin Fire and Rescue,” said Woodard. “I am happy to report the progress of that project to the board tonight.” 

The Town of Franklin purchased property in NP&L Loop for a substation in August of 2019. A committee comprised of Franking Fire Department volunteers and career staff started conducting state visits to the area sub-stations to begin developing plans for Franklin’s new station. 

On April 13, 2020, the Franklin Town Council unanimously voted to allow then Chief Matthew Breedlove to pursue bids for the construction of the fire sub-station and the town hired Ritter Architecture to assist the fire department with site drawings and plans as well as securing formal bid proposals in June 2020. 

On November 17, 2020, the town council unanimously voted to away a construction contract to Western Builders for $399,019 to construct the sub-station. Council also voted to enter into a financing agreement with United Community Bank for $400,000 with an interest rate of 1.99 percent fixed rate based on ten years. 

Franklin received approval from the Local Government Commission in December to move forward with the project and financing and according to Woodard, the project is expected to begin construction in Spring 2021. 

Woodard noted that Chief Ormond will be working diligently with Ritter Architecture to finalize the plans so construction of the sub-station will remain on schedule to ensure that once the sub-station is built, cost savings on insurance rates can be passed on to local residents. 

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