HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – On Thursday, Horry County leaders broke ground on what will be the new Horry County Fire Rescue University Station 23.
The current Station 23 sits on U.S. 501 beside Coastal Carolina University and Horry Georgetown Technical College.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said traffic problems on U.S. 501 and Singleton Ridge Road was one of the major reasons for looking at a new location
"And (we) decided, 'Let's see if we can't find another location," Vaught said.
An agreement was made and HGTC will actually buy the existing station, which is helping to fund the new one off S.C. 544.
The idea behind the move wasn't just for safety reasons. In fact, that's not even why Vaught started pushing for it. It is also going to cut insurance rates in half for some nearby neighborhoods.
Insurance rates in the Carolina Lakes neighborhood suddenly skyrocketed a few years ago. Vaught said it is due to some changes to ISO standards.
Rather than homeowner rates being based on proximity to a fire station within a 5-mile radius, it changed to within a 5-minute drive.
Half of the Carolina Lakes neighborhood is outside of a 5-minute drive. However, the new station will bring the rates back down.
"They vary from 2,000 to 8,000. Some of them jumped really high, and others didn't," said William Kleinbach, who lives in Carolina Lakes. "It should lower our rates considerably. Probably about half should go down."
Vaught explained that moving the station from U.S. 501 to S.C. 544 is not going to raise homeowner costs for anyone; it will only lower costs for people around Carolina Lakes.
Construction begins in November and the new station will be finished by November 2017. It will be 7,590 square feet, with three bays, a training
room, offices, a day room, kitchen, sleeping room, restrooms and 16 parking places.
The cost of the station is an estimated $1 million.