Village of West Alexandria returns property donated by Firemen’s Association

By Anthony Baker -

WEST ALEXANDRIA —Village of West Alexandria council members discussed zoning issues and returned property donated by the local Firemen’s Association for construction of a new fire and EMS station at their monthly meeting June 17.

At the top of June’s meeting, Mayor Carol Lunsford expressed appreciation for council member Doug Crouse’s many years of service to the village. Crouse passed away suddenly on May 30 of this year.

“I want to publicly thank Doug for his service to the community, and I want to thank his family for sharing him with us,” Lunsford said.

Village EMS chief Tom Smith expressed similar sentiments. EMS personnel responded to the emergency call at Crouse’s residence.

“That was a really hard call for all of us to handle, and unfortunately the outcome was not what we wanted,” Smith said. “But even though we don’t always win, we’re always out there doing the best we can.”

Representatives from the West Alexandria Firemen’s Association requested properties located at 61 East Dayton St. and 66 East Dayton St. in the village be deeded back to their organization, citing the date for construction of a new fire/EMS facility established at the time the properties were donated had passed.

As previously reported by The Register-Herald, village council voted to approve an income tax levy for the construction of a new fire and EMS building in March of 2016. The levy was projected to raise $55,000 a year, a portion of which has been used during the intervening time to develop plans for the building’s construction. Council voted to suspend plans for the new facility during an emergency meeting Feb. 5, however, citing their intention to try and purchase and renovate an already existing building instead.

Village resident Chris Armold expressed frustration with the lack of progress on the fire station project during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

“I’m really confused as to why I’m paying for a fire station that’s not there,” Armold told the council. “I’ve been paying for it for three years, and there’s no building. That’s not what was sold to the residents of this village.”

“That levy needs to be turned off,” Armold continued. “I don’t want to pay for it anymore.”

Armold also complained about lack of enforcement of various zoning ordinances in the village.

“You guys have a great code. It covers all the bases,” Armold said. “But there’s no enforcement. No one’s going around telling people they can’t have trash filling up their yard. I’ve talked to the Mayor, and she’ll concede that I have a valid complaint. But no one’s doing anything.”

Armold claimed to have contacted police about chemical smells coming from a property adjacent to his home, as well as odors of rotting meat.

“If the zoning officer won’t take care of it because they’re afraid or intimidated, then we need a new zoning officer,” Armold said.

Council also reported they had received insurance funds needed to repair buildings damaged by the recent tornadoes, including the village water building and pump house, as well as shelter houses in a local park.

Finally, council consulted with its attorney about plans to relocate the village police station. The station is currently housed in a property located at 73 N. Main St. in West Alexandria. The building is now owned by former village council member Ray Waldeck however. (Waldeck resigned from the council earlier this month, after acquiring the property, due to a conflict of interest). Under the terms of the current agreement, the police must vacate the property by July 1 or face being evicted.

By Anthony Baker