In response to rapid community growth and changes to the old downtown area, the City of Mont Belvieu recently completed two significant infrastructure investments — a new City Hall and a new Fire Station. Both buildings replace outdated structures that have served the city since 1991.
The two new buildings were showcased in a grand opening event on Tuesday, Nov. 14, that began with Mayor Joey McWilliams cutting the ribbon for the new City Hall and Fire Chief Lee Atchison overseeing the official uncoupling of firehoses, which is the fire service’s equivalent to a ribbon cutting.
Located at 1 Town Center Blvd. off of Eagle Drive, the new 30,721 square-foot City Hall, which broke ground in March 2021 after two years of planning, marks a new era in accommodating the City’s expanding staff and services. For the first time in the City’s history, the majority of municipal departments are now under one roof.
“This move has increased staff efficiency, encouraged more collaboration between departments, and allows a better customer experience for our residents. Now, the City is able to operate with opportunities it hasn’t had in some time; available office space for current staff and for future growth, multiple conference rooms, and a comfortable lunch room and kitchen for employees to enjoy at meal times. While the building may have changed, the mission of the City’s employees has remained the same: to meet the needs of our residents with integrity and unmatched customer service,” said Brian Ligon, communications and marketing director for the City of Mont Belvieu.
Alongside the new City Hall is the new 20,000 square-foot Mont Belvieu Fire Department Station 1. The new station is equipped with cutting-edge facilities and amenities that should enhance efficiency, improve response times, and strengthen community presence. The move comes after 30 years of service at the former municipal complex.
When asked why the City’s downtown has moved to the southeast in recent years, Ligon explained, “When the city began moving off the hill, which is along Highway 146 and FM 565, everything started shifting to the east in the mid-1980s. The thing we lost was the Main Street commerce. All we have now are historic photos. We are reestablishing that here.”
The new fire station provides MBFD with amenities and services it hasn’t been afforded before – a public lobby featuring a treatment room for walk-in patients, a large training room for our volunteer firefighters and full-time paramedics, a fully-equipped fitness room, [decontamination] and shower facilities available to volunteer firefighters for post-call care, an apparatus bay that allows all departmental assets to be in one place, and ample dorm facilities to accommodate both our full-time paramedics and allowing for station staffing by volunteer firefighters, according to Ligon.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, former mayor Nick Dixon said, “[This new City Hall] will allow the business of the city to continue in a facility that meets the needs of our growing community. It is my hope that it is a building that everyone in Mont Belvieu can be proud of.”
After the new City Hall was completed over the summer, employees wasted no time moving in. The fire department also has relocated all of its equipment and apparatus to the new station. The old fire station has been razed and the land has been reclaimed for a town center, part of the overall downtown redevelopment plan.
“While department personnel are sad to see the old station go away, they know the closing of that chapter will open the new one with greater opportunities to serve the people of Mont Belvieu,” Ligon said. “The first piece in the new downtown area is the City’s component – city hall and the new fire station, which are about 400 feet apart and face each other. Around us, in partnership with the Riceland master-planned community, we will have city hall anchoring this new downtown.”
Mont Belvieu Fire Department is served by Fire Chief Atchison, two assistant chiefs – Brent Hahn and Jennifer Allum, paid paramedics that make up three shifts of five persons and a very active roster of 20-plus volunteers.