The city of Pinehurst recently applied for a federal grant that would go to build a new fire station, possibly on Strickland Drive.

Mayor T.W. Permenter said city officials discovered a FEMA fund online which originally had some $200 million, and now has about $40 million left. 

City Manager Robert Ewart said it’s called the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Program. 

The city applied for $1.8 million. A large panel of firefighters from across the country grade the applications and make their decisions in a series of rounds. Judges aren’t allowed to view an application from their home state.

The city is negotiating to buy a plot of land owned by Sabine Federal Credit Union on Strickland, next door to the credit union’s offices, Ewart said.

Apparently, Pinehurst was not listed in the first cut, which included cities such as El Paso, San Antonio and Allen; and nationally – Chicago, Louisville, Ga., and Tampa, Fla. 

There will be future rounds, but Ewart isn’t sure how many.
“We haven’t been eliminated, and all the money isn’t gone yet,” he said.

If the grant is secured, it could eventually lead – first to a new fire station – then to new city hall and police headquarters, Permenter said.

“For that, we’re talking many years from now,” he said. “That’s our longtime goal. Maybe for the police station we could get some drug [forfeiture] money, and maybe we could find something in a future budget for a new city hall.”

The present facilities are old and in a bad location – a residential section at the west end of Mockingbird Street, Ewart said.

“It’s not a very good location for emergency services,” he said.
Although city officials are hopeful, Ewart said it’s a lot like playing the lottery.

“When there are hundreds of other cities applying across the country, you have to think of something like this as a long shot,” he said.