Sept. 18, 2013. Meat Camp Volunteer Fire Department celebrates its new station Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. with an open house and a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m.
At 10,000 square feet, the new station off N.C. 194 is four times the size of the original. It has six bays, two bunk rooms, a training room that can fit up to 60 people, office space and a full kitchen. The 40 Meat Camp volunteer firefighters will occupy this new building for the next 50 years.
“We’re trying to predict the size of what it needed to be not only for the present, but for those future years, too,” Nancy Moretz, secretary for the Meat Camp VFD board, said in July.
In 1971, Meat Camp community members expressed a need for fire protection, Janice Carroll, vice president of the Meat Camp VFD board, said. Unable to purchase land for a fire station for Meat Camp, John and Dorethea Greene signed a 25-year lease, with a 25-year renewal, on the property off the corner of Meat Camp Road. The lease on the land where the old station resides will end once the old station is cleared of all the equipment.
Over the next few decades, the fire station was subject to improvements, including a small training room that was added to the back of the fire station in the early 1980s.
Meat Camp was the last fire district in Watauga County to pass a fire district tax. The three cents per $100 tax was instated in 1997, this year the tax was bumped up to five cents per $100. Since this tax, the Meat Camp VFD has been able to begin a first responder program and a junior firefighting program.
Because Watauga County will see a redistribution of the sales tax, the Meat Camp VFD will receive $37,000 more than it did last year.
It cost an estimated $1.8 million to build the new fire station and the land which it is being built upon was bought for $115,000.
Raleigh-based Bobbitt Design Build built the new fire station. No one from Bobbitt was available for a comment as of press time.