By Matt Barbour, Reporter
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) — Several businesses and homes along Highway 58 in Harrison are now part of the city of Chattanooga. The annexation went into effect at the stroke of midnight. But not all residents are happy about it.
The stretch of Highway 58 will now be patrolled by Chattanooga Police. Residents and businesses can now have city trash pick up. But one area of concern for folks is fire protection.
This past week, businesses and homes up and down Highway 58 in Harrison found new Chattanooga city garbage cans at the curb, with a letter welcoming them to the city of Chattanooga.
“It’s really the political mainstream looking to expand their tax base,” says Ron Childress, who is opposed to the annexation.
Zone ‘6C’, a six mile stretch of road that runs from Harrison Ooltewah Road to Hickory Valley Road, was approved to be annexed last year and took effect January first.
One service some businesses are worried about, is fire protection.
“The volunteer fire department that’s just up the highway here wouldn’t be able to legally come and help us or any other business that’s on the highway,” says Amy Good, who works at Sweeney’s Barbeque off 58.
The restaurant is taking advantage of being annexed by applying for a single serve liquor license. But the prospect of new business does not ease Good’s nerves about fire response times.
“I don’t know how close the next fire station is, the way it could get to us, if we needed anything,” she says.
The closest Chattanooga city fire department is station number six off Bonny Oaks Drive and according to Google maps, is an additional 10 minute drive.
“We’re confident that we’ll be able to provide the same services to these new areas of the city as we do now,” says Capt. Terri Whiteside with the Chattanooga Fire Department.
She wants to calm any fears. She also wants to be clear about a part of the ordinance that says within six months, the need for additional fire hydrants will be determined; something that does not sit too well with Good.
“If you’re going to enlarge the city, I would think that you should have fire hydrants ready to go to protect the rest of the city that you’re going to call the city now,” says Good.
“Even if there’s not a hydrant right in front of the business, that does not mean that we do not have water. All of the apparatus carry a water supply, plus we have other apparatus that, all they do is carry water,” says Whiteside.
Whiteside also says the city fire station at Enterprise South will be responding in addition to Bonny Oaks. Both are staffed 24 hours.
She also says more than 20 recruits will be graduating later this year, and will be added to the force.