New North Augusta Public Safety Building ignites criticism

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
News 12 at 5 and 6 o'clock

North Augusta City Council voted to rezone the old Flythe property off Georgia Ave so that they can build a new Department of Public Safety. (Source: WRDW/WAGT)

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- North Augusta City Council voted to rezone the old Flythe property off of Georgia Avenue for public use. This would allow them to build a new Department of Public Safety Building on the grounds.

The building would include Fire Station No. 1, and people who live in that neighborhood and beyond have taken to social media to declare their unhappiness with the plan.

The three biggest concerns are the noise that a fire station would bring to an otherwise quiet neighborhood, the fact that the building would be built on historic grounds, and the way in which city council went about all of this.  City Council bought the property without the proper zoning and had to change their own rules in order to be able to build the Public Safety Department on the old Flythe property.

The current Department of Public Safety building is located off Buena Vista Ave, right near several neighborhoods.

Neighbors, like Rosalynd Harper, say the noise doesn't really bother her.

"Honestly, you don't even notice it. You really don't," she said.

She also says she likes the sense of security she feels knowing first responders are right around the corner.

"I just tell my daughter, if someone breaks in the back door, you go out the front and you go straight to the police department. It's convenient," she said.

As far as the concern about the new building being built on historic ground, City Councilwoman Pat Carpenter says the Flythe property has been run down and untouched for years.

"If anything's historical, your police and fire department is going to be very historical to the city of North Augusta," Carpenter says.

Angry neighbors in North Augusta have posted things on Facebook saying that council members should be "tarred and feathered" or run out of town. Carpenter has taken these comments to heart, and said they hurt her inside. saying the feedback has been extremely hurtful.

"I know people are angry at me, and they think I've made the wrong choice. But I feel in my heart and my mind that I have made the right choice," she said. "I think in 40 years from now, our citizens and our children and grandchildren can look at this and say this was a good choice."

City Council has one more vote before anything is final, but as far as Pat Carpenter is concerned, she says she does not plan to change her vote unless drastic new information comes along.

News 12 will have the results of that vote when it happens at the next meeting in two weeks.

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