A fourth fire station in Huntersville won’t happen this year, but local leaders want to make it a reality in the coming years.

The town’s three fire stations ­­– off South Old Statesville Road, Beatties Ford Road and Eastfield Road – cover all but the southwest part of Huntersville. Long Creek Fire Department covers that part of the town.

A fourth station is slated for the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to Town Manager Greg Ferguson. It could happen earlier, provided the ideal location is found and construction begins.

Town board members asked Ferguson on Sept. 30 about making the station a reality sooner than 2015.

Mayor Jill Swain said the town must pick a site for the fire station, and then determine if it needs rezoning or a lease agreement. Lastly, the town must have a sketch plan of the station. It would also decide whether to expand the station in the future. 

One location option local leaders have discussed is an area off Hambright Road. The prospective fire station would cost about $3.5 million, Ferguson said. General obligation bonds from 2012 would cover the cost.

The proposed fire station would cover areas including the Long Creek, Hambright Road, Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road and the Latta Springs development.

Once it’s built, the station would also help cut down response times for other stations. Huntersville Fire Department spokesman Bill Suthard said response times for the three stations average about four minutes.

The three stations have a total of about 80 members. Adding a fourth station would likely require a bump in fire department membership as well, Ferguson said.

“(A fourth station) has been in our Capital Improvement Plan for quite some time,” he said. “The recession kind of slowed down our progress some.”

The fire department added a new 105-foot truck to Station No. 1 in August.

Suthard said a big reason the town needs a fourth station, aside from being able to cover all the communities in the 60-plus-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction, is for insurance purposes.

“Having fire stations close to all the homes reduces the cost of insurance for families,” he said. “So it’s a positive in that way. We want to be able to lower the cost of insurance, improve our rating and have more coverage.”