July 30, 2003 – The Northside Civic Organization is hosting a public town hall meeting on Saturday evening to discuss the state of fire services and related public safety issues in the St. Thomas-St. John district.
The organization has invited executive and legislative branch officials to be present. A moderator will take questions from those gathered for the officials present to answer.
The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at Palms Court Harbourview Hotel.
"We invite the entire community," a public service announcement from the organization states, "because when one fire house (Dorothea) is not open full time, all other stations are affected. You cannot afford to miss this meeting."
In June of 2002, after intense lobbying by the Northside Civic Organization, the Dorothea station was reopened after being closed for more than three and a half years. (See "North Side's Dorothea fire station reopens".)
Fire officials recently said a shortage of personnel has made it impossible to staff the Dorothea station on a full-time basis. In Fiscal Year 2004 budget testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Ian Williams, Fire Service director, noted the retirement of six individuals this fiscal year and the call to active National Guard duty of five others for at least six months.
Without the Dorothea facility, the nearest fire station to serve the North Side is the downtown one alongside the Fort Christian Museum.
Civic Organization spokesman Brian Grimshaw told WVWI it would take 27 minutes for fire trucks to reach a fire on the Northside and 35 minutes to get to a fire in Fortuna.
He said this is not just a Northside issue, "We want everyone there."
He said the officials who had been invited had not said, however, if they would attend.
For more information about the Saturday meeting, call Grimshaw at 777-9801, send an e-mail to Jason Budsan or call Budsan at 777-7190.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.