One result from a series of neighborhood meetings this spring that focused on revitalization of the Wilson Road area has brought something wanted — and needed — for years to the north end of Walker County.
Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson and Deputy Bruce Coker have announced the creation of the Walker County Sheriff's Department North Satellite Station.
Since first meeting in March, members of the Wilson Road Neighborhood Group have stressed the need for enhanced policing in Happy Valley, between the state line and Rossville Middle School.
Residents, business owners, elected officials and law enforcement officers agreed such a precinct was needed.
Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said the need for such a facility has been realized for years.
But questions about where to put it and how to pay for it had postponed its being implemented.
“Originally, plans called for a sheriff’s office that would be included when the northern end of the county tax office, the one on McFarland Avenue, was replaced,” Heiskell said.
The new tax office opened in July 2013 and has proven its worth, but the property was deemed too small to allow adding a building suitable for use by deputies.
Chris Carlton’s offer of rent-free space makes it possible to add a precinct that is near Ridgeland High and other nearby schools, as well as Rossville, Flintstone, Fairview, Chickamauga and Chattanooga Valley.
Carlton Properties will lease — at no charge — space at 63 Hannah Way, in its office complex near the intersection of Wilson and Happy Valley roads, to serve as a precinct.
While the office space is provided rent free, utilities will be paid by the Sheriff’s Department.
Local resident, businessman and Wilson Road Neighborhood Group founding member David Roden said the satellite office shows how a community that works together can make a difference.
“We identified our top three priorities during that first (March 1) WRNG meeting,” he said. “This satellite office is something we wanted and it is good that the elected officials listened and responded to what the public wanted.”
Having a highly visible law enforcement presence should benefit everyone living and working in the entire north end of the county, he said.
Information about the precinct will be available during the next community meeting that is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Union Avenue Baptist Church in Rossville.
Because it was not included in this year’s budget, monetary donations to help furnish the office can be made to the Sheriff’s Department by calling Coker at 423-718-7651.
Roden praised Wilson and Coker for their efforts to move ahead with the project even though it was not included in the county’s or sheriff’s budget.
“Not having funding was no reason for us to stop trying,” he said “We met, identified the issues and found a way to make it happen.”