Armory purchase makes good sense

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Tuesday night, the Bainbridge City Council was set to consider a proposal to purchase the old National Guard Armory property on Louise Street.

The council formally expressed interest in purchasing the Marvin Griffin National Guard Armory from the State of Geogia in June 2011, several months after the National Guard consolidated its operations and moved the transportation unit that was based in Bainbridge to Thomasville, Ga.

The City of Bainbridge originally donated the land on which the former armory sits to the state of Georgia in 1952. The council’s decision on whether to purchase the property is virtually a no-brainer: the state government is only asking $120,000 for a 2.61-acre property that is worth a lot more.

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The state government was exempt from paying ad valorem tax on the property; the city will be exempt as well, so there will be no effect on the property tax rolls.

The 18,925-square-feet armory building has 15 offices, and a 60-by-90-feet general purpose room. It was kept in very good condition and could be transformed into Public Safety headquarters virtually overnight, according to city officials.

Putting a fire station in southern Bainbridge was a recommendation of an ISO insurance study conducted in recent years. Another recommendation the city has already fulfilled was the purchase of a ladder-equipped fire truck to provide better response to large or tall buildings. There is space at the armory to house both the ladder truck and conventional fire trucks; it will be more convenient and safe for BPS officers to access the fire trucks and pull them out onto Louise Street than at the current Shotwell Street station.

The City Council has shown wisdom and foresight in making a purchase that will directly benefit Bainbridge homeowners and businesses by providing even better fire response.