Who doesn’t love fire houses? I remember visiting one once when I was a little kid. Oh how much fun it was to slide down the fire pole and climb all over the trucks. Such fun.
So it is great that a new fire house has, albeit finally, opened up on Airline Road. The paper detailed this opening in their article titled “Fire Station 4 opens after years-long design, building effort.”
Residents cheered in one Columbus Facebook group while other groups jeered. Jeered because the project started way back in 2014 and is only just now finishing.
Some point out that anyone with a modicum of construction knowledge knows that steel buildings are the cheapest and fastest to construct. So why did it take six years for the project to be concluded?
My dad can build a five story hotel in under a year. If this is possible, why did it take six years to complete a simple steel building?
Of course the paper was congratulatory and laudatory for this gross incompetence and failed to bring attention to the real elephant in the room, governmental mismanagement and possibly graft. I would personally like this project to undergo a full independent cost audit. I want to know how much this station costs the taxpayer in over six years. I want to know the entire cost.
People are celebrating not because we have a new fire station. No, some are celebrating a perceived political victory by Mayor Smith following months of controversy where he was not seen in public due to health reasons. By the looks of his press conference at the unveiling, Mayor Smith certainly wanted the impression left with voters that he was on top of things.
But he isn’t or wasn’t on top of this job. It took six years!
J5, the city’s contracted project manager, was even called in to “save the day.” The fire chief lauded J5 for their expertise and help. But J5 was called in way back in 2018. They took three years themselves to fix things and “help the city save money,” but they failed because it shouldn’t take three years to do this.
This project is just another example of the modus operandi of city government contractors, and likely the city itself, under Mayor Smith. That is, build projects as cheaply as possible in terms of work and materials, and then stretch the project out over many more months, and years even, to maximize the revenue being given to the project. And someone gets to keep what’s in the middle.
It’s just too bad that someone isn’t the taxpayer.
St. Petersburg, Fla. and Columbus