After months of closed-door negotiations, Beaufort City Council has agreed to buy a parcel on Ribaut Road for the new Mossy Oaks fire station.
Council authorized the $320,000 purchase of 1120 Ribaut Road on Tuesday with little comment.
A small neighborhood fire station will replace an outdated building at 2519 Mossy Oaks Road, city officials say. Plans call for a flexible design, which would allow the building to be easily expanded and converted to the department's headquarters.
Construction is expected to move quickly because the city has about $2.2 million from bond sales that must be used by the summer. Otherwise, the city could face penalties.
The contract is to close by July 1, and city manager Scott Dadson said he expects designs, bid contracts and construction schedules will be ready in 30 to 45 days. He said design work done six months ago helped put the city "ahead of the curve."
Dadson said the city considered several properties on or within a few blocks of Ribaut Road, between Mossy Oaks Road and First Boulevard. The selected lot was the appropriate size and location, he said.
The property is owned by Andrew Sears and Macie Sears Scherick of Jacksonville, Fla., according to county property records. The 1.19 acres of wooded land is assessed at $341,523.
Fire Department Chief Sammy Negron said the location is ideal for meeting Insurance Services Organization requirements fire station locations. The ratings take into account how far stations are from each other and from the properties they protect.
ISO ratings factor into insurance costs for the city and residents.
Negron added that the new building will be in a safer location than the building it will replace, which is very close to Beaufort Middle and Mossy Oaks Elementary schools.
"We aren't as close to the schools during the rush hours in the morning and afternoons," he said. "... While that might seem ideal to the public, it has always been a concern having a fire station right next to the schools."
City Council has yet to determine what to do with the current Mossy Oaks fire station, Dadson said.