Some Bay St. Louis residents are ready to take on city hall and the fire department. At issue: the new central fire station proposed for a plot of city owned land on Main Street.
The location is behind the new city complex in the old Coast Electric Building. Many of the concerned residents would like to see the property used for a city park. They say it would be the perfect welcome mat for visitors headed to Old Town Bay St. Louis.
"It's a beautiful space. I think it could be a park, it would make a wonderful park, " resident Jay MacAniff says of the two acre site.
But Bay leaders have a different vision. They see the land behind the city government complex as the perfect spot for the central fire station.
"My main concern, and I think some of the residents on State Street, is that the proposed area is a nice green space, when the city actually owns a large lot of land on two sides of Main Street that could be utilized instead," MacAniff said.
Jeanette Vitranl was considering buying a historic home right across the street.
"Who would want to buy a house across the street from a fire station?" Vitranl asked. "The houses in back of me are historical, beautiful. And this is not a pretty sight for the houses across the street, for the people who live there to see and to hear."
Believe it or not, some people worry a fire station would lower property values. Others object to the noise and traffic a fire station would bring to the neighborhood.
Director of Administrations Buz Olsen has tried to reassure residents that the new building will fit in with its surroundings.
"This is going to be a state of the art facility, brick veneer, two story living quarters on the second floor, administrative on the first. We're not going to put anything out there that's not going to blend in with the community. We've got about $7,000 for landscaping, flowers, trees, everything that's indigenous to the area. Again, this is going to be like somebody's home," Olsen said.
The plans are still being drawn up and neighbors can have some input at upcoming hearings. But for now, city leaders are satisfied that they've found the right place for the new fire station.