The new fire station at Jefferson and Claycut is a beautiful building; the finest architecture, materials and construction and situated, not only conveniently, but on absolutely prime real estate.

Beauty and location aside, it is, I believe, the essence of what is wrong with our government. Apparently, the local government already had the land. Recall that the adjacent school’s land art was removed from the property to construct that fire station. But does a fire station really need to be exactly there?

Once the city decided to remove the land art and confiscate the property, a number of options arose. Consider the alternative of parceling out that section of property and leasing it, thus creating, heaven forbid, income.

Regarding the building itself: What is necessary, essentially, is shelter for the truck and firefighters; a utilitarian structure to house the personnel and implements of a necessary service.

However, what we the taxpayers have here is the “Taj Mahal” of fire stations. That is a compliment to its architect and builder (perhaps the fire marshal can sell tours). However, none of us ? the people who are paying for that ? house our lawn tractor, Chevrolet or Cadillac in such splendor. We can’t afford to. Even if we could, we wouldn’t.

Why would someone squander such valuable property, then spend so lavishly, and wastefully on, essentially, a garage?

We use our money intelligently. Isn’t that what government is supposed to do with OUR money?

The new fire station at Sharp Road (according to The Advocate’s May 27 article) will cost $2.2 million for 10,000 square feet, $220 per square foot. That is about DOUBLE the price of an average new house. But this isn’t a house. A great part of the new fire station’s square footage is, again, a garage.

Mike Townley, of the Baton Rouge Fire Department, was quoted by The Advocate as saying “(the old stations) all have an expiration date on them.”

I’m curious if the new stations have an expiration date, too. Perhaps my house has an “expiration date” that I’m unaware of, and I should stop maintaining it, and have someone give me the money to simply build my own Taj Mahal.

Michael Myers

construction consultant

Baton Rouge