PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Prairieville has been dubbed by national magazines and locals as one of the most desirable places to live. The community is growing so fast, the local fire department is adding a fifth station to accommodate new and old residents.
The expansion could end up giving some homeowners a break on their insurance. It is no secret Prairieville has become a prominent place to live.
At nearly every turn you will notice newly constructed homes and plans for more. Boasting a population of more than 35,000 people, there are no signs of slowing down.
"People find it easy to settle right here. It's close to Baton Rouge and other places," District 3 Fire Chief Mark Stewart said.
Stewart said he and other leaders have shifted their focus to Bluff Road. It has expanded in recent years and, he said, there are talks of more homes and a new school coming soon. It is also the one area that does not have a fire station nearby.
"We are trying to improve our ability to respond in a timely fashion. Those things also help with the property insurance association when it comes to the fire protection rating," Stewart said.
District 3 currently has a Class 4 fire protection rating, 1 being the best. Chief Stewart is hoping to Prairieville's ranking.
The solution could very well come in the form of a $1.5 million state-of-the-art fire station set to be built at the intersection of Highway 9828 and Bluff Road. It will include six full time firefighters and a number of volunteers.
District 3 Fire Board Chairman, Walter Leftwich, said more than a decade of tax revenue and bonds helped put fire safety within reach of Prairieville homeowners. The fire department grew with the community.
"That means more fire trucks, more employees. The growth is just overwhelming here," Leftwich said.
While residents may not see them every day, Leftwich said firefighters are constantly training and learning new ways to help keep the people they serve safe.
"I'll assure you, if you need them, you're looking for them to get there in a hurry. It's important that we get there," Leftwich said.
The new fire station is out for bid. The chief expects it will be finished later next year.