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April 2 was a red-letter day for the residents of the Pleasant Valley Fire District.
That’s the day the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department celebrated the grand opening of its new $2.1 million fire station on Possum Hollow Road in Indian Land.
The station had an “uncoupling” ceremony instead of a ribbon-cutting. Four groups that played critical roles in the creation of the new fire station – state and county public officials, the community, firefighters’ families and the department’s firefighters – took turns uncoupling fire hoses strung across the station’s four front bay doors.
The new 14,800-square-foot station is a testament to what can be done when a community pulls together.
Formerly located in a much smaller station on S.C. 160, the department had to move when the widening of S.C. 160 got under way, as the wider road will displace the old station.
The department found the station’s new location in late 2008. It acquired the property with a $200,000 contribution from Merrifield Partners, the developers of the nearby Bailes Ridge business park, and the Crenshaw and Dunlap families of Van Wyck, who donated part of the 1.3 acre site.
But it took the creation of the Pleasant Valley Fire Protection District, which district voters approved in a referendum five years ago, and its $75 annual fee on homes and businesses to make the new station a reality.
With their fees, every member of the Pleasant Valley Fire Protection District helped build the new station and pay for two on-duty firefighters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
About 300 people turned out for the grand opening to see what those fees paid for – a beautiful stone and brick building with an eight-door apparatus bay, plenty of storage room, dorms, locker rooms, a kitchen, a den and other amenities.
“I think it says a lot about the community, that they’re willing to take on that extra expense,” Pleasant Valley Fire Protection District Board Chairman Brian Carnes said when the department moved into the new station in February. “From what they were willing to invest, they’ve gotten, probably, the best fire station in the county.”
On April 2, Carnes thanked the public for its help in making the department’s vision come true.
“It’s a fantastic realization of some of the plans the department has,” Carnes said of the new station. “It’s really to (the community’s) credit that we’ve got this facility.”
We commend the Pleasant Valley Fire District community for coming together to help build this new station and congratulate each and every one who had a part in it.