New Fire Station coming to Rock Quarry Road: Vote on Public Art
In 2017, Raleigh City Council approved relocating Fire Station 3, now located on S. East Street in Southeast Raleigh, to 1000 Rock Quarry Road. The new site is located at the split of Rock Quarry Road and Raleigh Blvd. The decision to relocate the fire station was made because of the age of the facility, the need for more dormitory and parking space, and to ensure the fire station continues to meet response times and avoid coverage gaps in a growing city, Raleigh City Councilman Corey Branch said.
The $11.5M construction project is in the design phase and is expected to be completed over the next two years. The new 12,000-sq-ft facility will offer two apparatus bays to house engine 3 and a backup engine or ladder reserve.
The history of Fire Station 3 dates back to 1951. It became home to The Victor Fire Company, the pioneering, all-Black, formerly enslaved team of volunteer firefighters who, in 1870, won one of the first firefighter competitions for black and white fighters in the state. They served Southeast Raleigh from this fire station.
To commemorate the history and contributions of local black firefighters, the city is making plans to install public art at the new station. Last year, the City of Raleigh Public Art Department held a process to select an artist to conduct engagement and design, create, and install public art for the new facility. The artist selected was Maxwell Emcays out of Chicago. Experienced working in communities similar to Southeast Raleigh, Emcays has spent the last eight months talking to members of the new Victor Fire Company, a nonprofit spearheaded by city firefighter Chaz Moore, and collecting stories from local historians and African-American history experts such as Wake County librarian Wanda Cox-Bailey.
Most notably, Emcays met with Mr. Welton “Shag” Jones, one of the original seven black firefighters hired by the city in 1963. Mr. Jones passed away June 5, 2022, but his legacy will live on through this work of art.
From the input gathered, Emcays created three concepts, all presented in red, each with its own communal invitation to visitors to walk through, explore, or take a seat. Community input is needed to determine which of the concepts should be advanced for final approval. You may click here to view the concepts and vote on your choice.
In the coming weeks, Emcays will visit Southeast Raleigh Elementary to talk to the students about Fire Station 3 and the public art project. Professionals will also be on hand to talk about careers in fire science.