On December 15, 2016 the Arlington County Board approved the County Manager’s recommendation to purchase the two properties adjacent to the current fire station for a temporary location while the current Fire Station #8 is rebuilt. Then in January 2017 the County Board directed the County Manager to purchase the third property adjacent to the current fire station, assuring that the temporary station will be located adjacent to the current fire station, and that it will not be built on Dominion Green (26th & Old Dominion Drive). The persistent efforts of the Old Dominion neighborhood were primarily responsible for this decision.
Arlington’s Fire Station #8, located at the corner of Lee Highway and Culpeper St., is a historic fire station founded by black volunteers 98 years ago. Earlier this year the Arlington County Board voted to rebuild the fire station on the same site where it has always been. The board members rejected the county manager’s advice to move the station eight blocks north, to North 26th St. and Old Dominion Drive, saying that the move would not significantly improve response times to the northern part of the county, and it would shift emergency crews away from the portion of the station’s most densely populated zone — an area where significant new residential development is planned for coming years.
The County Board supported the recommendation of a citizens’ task force that was appointed last year after community members from both the Old Dominion Citizens Association and the High View Park Citizens Association complained they had not been consulted about whether to close down the cramped, two-bay station and build a larger, modern one on a county-owned parcel at 26th Street and Old Dominion Drive. Residents who opposed moving the facility included descendants of the African American firefighters who founded the station to provide protection to neighborhoods ignored by white fire crews, as well as other residents concerned about worsening response times and losing resources along the busy Lee Highway corridor.