MARTIN — Community members and several dignitaries braved the heat Tuesday to christen the new Martin Fire Station during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new fire station is the first building to be constructed on the Martin re-development site that has been in the works for over a decade.
Mayor Sam Howell greeted the crowd, saying it was truly a great day for the city of Martin. “This provides a great anchor for future development on this site.”
“It tickles me to death,” Howell told The Floyd County Times, calling the new station one of the nicest in the county. “We had a lot of equipment that we didn’t have room for before. The old station didn’t have room for anything.”
Floyd County Judge-Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall called the firehouse the first piece of the puzzle for the Martin relocation. “It’s an accomplishment that we’ve been looking forward to,” said Marshall.
The keynote speaker for Tuesday’s gathering was U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, who has spearhead the Martin re-development plan, finding funding where he can to keep the project going.
Rogers told the crowd that the fire station would be the first building in what he predicts will be the new city of Martin.
“It’s a symbol of hope and progress in flood protection,” said Congressman Rogers. “This fire station will continue to be a lighthouse on the hill.”
Rogers said that Martin’s re-development came about due to the city suffering 10 major floods over the years, which required a drastic plan.
“This radical plan was the only thing available,” said Rogers, who added, “This project will eventually bring peace of mind to Martin, in the threat of storms.”
Rogers says he wants to come back in the future to help celebrate the new town hall and alternative school, which are also planned to be constructed on the re-development location.
“There is a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way too.”
Tuesday’s ceremony was also attended by Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, Col. Steven McGugan with the Corp of Engineers, Magistrate Hattie Owens, and former mayor Alan R. Whicker. The national anthem was performed by Marlana Vanhoose, who was also recognized by Rep. Hal Rogers. Members of the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Center’s Advanced Security students were present to assist with parking and set up.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Floyd County Fiscal Court signed the Project Cooperation Agreement for the redevelopment in June of 2001. The Phase I site required $100 million in spending, and created a 6.5 acre commercial development site. Phases II and III, for which there is no immediate timetable, will require the acquisitions and demolition of existing downtown area to provide additional residential and commercial development.