LOGAN – In what may have been a record breaker for short meetings, the members of the Logan City Council met in public for about two minutes Tuesday, just long enough to vote themselves into closed session.
While the stated purpose of the closed meeting was discussion of potential property acquisition, city officials continued to play their cards close to their chests about the location and purpose of the property in question.
But the presence of Logan Fire Chief Brad Hannig going into the closed meeting seemed to confirm the local grapevine suspicion that its topic would involve possible alternative sites for the relocation of the Logan City Fire Department’s aging Station 70.
In May, city officials unveiled a plan to relocate that facility to city property at the corner of 100 East Street and Federal Avenue.
The plan immediately drew fire from business owners in the Federal Avenue area, since the new facility would significantly limit customer parking there.
LCFD Station 70 — now located at 76 East, 200 North — houses one four-man fire department unit and serves as the LCFD’s administrative headquarters. Built in 1974, that station is the oldest facility currently operated by the Logan City Fire Department.
In a presentation to council members on May 8, Hannig fought a losing battle to defend the proposed relocation plan from heated public criticism.
Hannig listed numerous problems associated with the aging station, including replacing the roof, improving energy efficiency, providing quarters for female firefighters and addressing concerns about seismic safety.
After 18 months of study, he explained, the 100 East location became the preferred option for a new fire station because the city already owned the property and the new site, which was in close proximity to the current location of Station 70, would maintain that unit’s rapid response time to emergency calls.
But members of the Federal Avenue business community continued to protest that the loss of nearby parking would be a death knell for their enterprises.
That contentious meeting ended with Mayor Holly Daines agreeing to explore alternative sites for the new fire station.
But Kymber Housley, Logan’s city attorney, cautioned that discussing alternative relocation sites in an open meeting could escalate the cost of any property acquisition.
The closed meeting of the municipal council members on July 6 was the first discussion of property acquisition by city officials since the fire station relocation controversy erupted.