Monday's groundbreaking celebration is something Cartersville Fire Chief Scott Carter has been waiting on for more than a decade.
"This particular station is actually on its second round of SPLOST dollars," he said at a ceremony to commemorate the start of construction on the new Cartersville Fire Station No. 3 at 15 Village Hill Drive. "We had the downturn in the economy, that project was cut. I've been working on this station in particular since 2007."
The earth-moving event signals the beginning of what Carter expects to be a roughly eight-month construction process. He said he anticipates the completed building going into operation around September or October.
"This is a $3.5 million investment in the community," he said. "This is an 11,000-square-foot station. It's a state of the art station, it's very heavy on firefighter safety, so there's components built into it to where there's a lot of cancer reduction features."
More than a dozen City of Cartersville Fire Department personnel were on hand for the event, as were numerous city government and administration representatives.
"This is an opportunity for us to efficiently serve our citizens on this part of our jurisdiction, and we're very, very excited about that," said Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock. "It's been a long time coming, so it's going to be a great facility for you. I can't wait to be back here for a ribbon cutting and an open house."
The new station will replace the facility at 1220 West Ave.
"It was actually a tire store when it was purchased by the city in 1995," Carter said. "So they'll be moving out of that metal fabrication building to a true fire station for the first time since that station was created."
The design of the new station, Carter added, will be similar to Fire Station No. 1 and No. 4, at 195 Cassville Road and 550 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, respectively.
"This falls under the same type of design as our other fire stations that we built in 2011, so all the systems are in place and it will be more efficient," Carter said.
Mayor Matt Santini said community members do not support SPLOST-funded initiatives like the new fire station unless they are "impressed and happy" with local services.
"It'll move out of the tin can that's down the street a little bit and it's going to allow us to more adequately serve our residents," he said. "How do you improve an [Insurance Services Office] rating of 1? You just keep on getting better and better."
Once completed, Carter said the station will house about eight personnel. "Currently, there's only one engine company, or single company, that will be assigned to it, which is a company of four," he said. "So this also gives us plenty of growth as we go down through the decades."
As work begins on the new station, Carter said he's "extremely excited" about the services the department will be able to provide citizens in the not-too-distant future.
But on the other hand, he also said seeing the groundwork getting underway fills him with humbleness.
"Because of the citizens of our community that's handled this through their tax dollars, the city administration and our mayor and council," he said, "I just can't thank them enough for their support to allow us to do what we do."