Monticello broke ground Thursday morning for the city’s  new fire station, culminating more than a decade of discussion and planning often mired in controversy over where the station would be located.

The $1.3 million station, funded with a portion of a one-cent city sales tax, will be constructed on North Main Street on the former W.C. Whaley Elementary School property which was purchased by the city for that purpose during former mayor Monticello Harold West’s administration. Discussion and planning for the station continued through former mayors David Anderson and Joe Rogers’ administrations and finally current mayor Allen Maxwell’s administration.

“I call this the four mayors fire station,” Maxwell joked.

Former mayors Joe Rogers and Harold West, City Finance Director Kimberly Fletcher, former mayor David Anderson and Mayor Allen Maxwell. Plans for the project began during West’s administration and finalized during Maxwell’s administration. Fletcher was city finance director through all four administrations.

All four mayors attended the ground-breaking ceremony along with Monticello Fire Chief Steven Faulkner, Monticello firefighters, members of the Monticello City Council, members of the city’s administrative staff, Ideal Construction president Mike Webb, ETC engineer Mizan Rahman, the project architect Gerald Avery, local business leaders, members of the community, and First Baptist Church pastor Bruce Venable, who offered prayers for those who will build the station and those who will subsequently work there.

Maxwell said it will be the first new fire station the city has built in 74 years. The current central fire station at City Hall will be renovated for use by the Monticello Police Department.

ETC engineer Mizan Rahman, Mayor Allen Maxwell, project architect Gerald Avery, and Ideal Construction president Mike Webb with drawing of the new fire station