Summer is typically the time when folks slow down, enjoy some time off or at least take it easy for a day or two. But not the Bryan County Board of Commissioners.
We’ve got plenty of projects and plans in the works, and we’re poised to spring into action. We’re going to forge full-speed ahead so when our residents get back to the grind come August, they’ll have some new amenities and improvements to enjoy.
As many folks know, we’re preparing to build a new fire station right next to the County Administrative Complex off the Highway 144 roundabout in South Bryan County. Station 1, which will go out to bid this fall, is an important addition to the county given the growth in that location.
Bryan County Emergency Services, which provides emergency medical services to the entire county and fire-protection services to unincorporated North and South Bryan, is doing a great job. The department has 10 stations and responded to 6,043 combined fire and EMS calls last year — up from 5,084 the previous year.
Of those calls, 70 percent were for emergency medical services all around the county and 30 percent were for fires in unincorporated North and South Bryan, which is consistent with our budgeting allocations to ensure the cost of countywide services are distributed fairly.
Bryan County Emergency Services firefighters are fully cross-trained as medical first responders/EMTs/paramedics and can begin administering treatment before an ambulance arrives on scene. This is an important part of how the department works together to provide the best medical care for our citizens.
The department also provides education to the public about fire prevention, performs inspections to ensure compliance with fire-prevention laws and handles natural disasters and threats, such as hurricanes and snow/ ice accumulation.
As you can see, it’s a very big job and help is needed to ensure the continued safety of our community. With nearby neighborhoods, such as Buckhead East, growing quickly and the close proximity to McAllister Elementary School, this new station will serve an important purpose in replacing the old, outdated Fire Station 1 currently situated on Highway 144.
This summer, we’ve also planned some updates to our recreation department gyms on both the north and south ends of the county. In addition, Hendrix Park is slated for several improvements, and the football fields will be upgraded, as will the concession stands and restrooms.
It’s important to us that our county’s families have top-notch options for athletic pursuits and outdoor leisure time. Exercise is an important part of a healthy, well-rounded life for Bryan County residents of all ages, and when there are plenty of options to get moving, it’s a much easier habit to sustain.
Another exciting project we’re gearing up for is the widening of Highway 144. That is one task we did not want to begin in summer, however, as it’s expected to take about 2.5 years to complete and will cause a few traffic elated inconveniences. But while the inconveniences will be temporary, the improvement will be permanent and well worthwhile.
Two other critical transportation-related projects slated to go out for bids in September are the roundabouts at the intersections of Belfast River/ Harris Trail and Belfast River/Belfast Keller. We’re grateful for the passage of TSPLOST since it provides an essential funding element for this work.
On behalf of the Bryan County Board of Commissioners and the county government staff, we hope you and your family enjoy a safe, restful and fun summer. It’s a pleasure to serve you and we look forward to tackling these projects to ensure the continued safety and quality of life our residents certainly deserve.
Infinger is chairman of the Bryan County Commission