Lenoir City Fire Department is one step closer to a new downtown fire hall.

Lenoir City Council gave the go-ahead for a new metal building to house fire engines and equipment beside the old Lenoir City Utilities Building service center off Depot Street.

Council went with a quote from Holston Construction of $67,255 after a recommendation from Lenoir City Police Chief Don White. The other bid was from A&S Building System at $25,267.74, but White said the company did not bid correctly.

“We’ll be moving forward with receiving the drawings where we turn those over to the structural engineer for him to draw the site plan, get that submitted for approval,” White said.

Councilmen Eddie Simpson and James Brandon motioned and seconded, respectively, with the vote passing 5-0. Bobby Johnson Sr. was absent.

Relocating the fire hall in downtown has been an ongoing discussion since plans arose for a business to put a brewery in the old LCUB building.

“It keeps the fire station one in the downtown district, which we would be required to do, and it doesn’t move it very far from where it was,” Amber Scott, Lenoir City administrator, said. “It’s accessible and it’s even on the same block as the previous fire station was.”

Tony Aikens, Lenoir City mayor, pointed to a realistic possibility of having the station relocated by next summer if weather cooperates.

“We discovered — as I said in city council — we discovered there was a sewer line under the building, which nobody knew and there wasn’t any plans,” Aikens said. “So obviously LCUB had to move that sewer line, so that’s taken some time. We don’t have a lot of renovations to the fire hall except itself. So we’re in the stages of getting those plans approved.”

Some renovations must be done in the old service center.

“Even though Lenoir City Fire Department currently has no women employed, one of these days we certainly will have, and I hope so, and as fire personnel,” Aikens said. “So there will be room down there for men and women in the new fire hall. Those guys down there that’s in station one, they certainly deserve a clean, working environment, and that’s something they’re going to have with this building.”

In other news, Lenoir City Council:

• Approved the second and final reading for a plan of services to annex 5.3 acres at 1306 Simpson Road West. The property was annexed in a separate vote.

• Amended city donations to allow for a $250 contribution to American Legion Post 70.

• Authorized closure of Kingston to C streets for the downtown fall harvest festival 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 19.

• Granted full-time employment to Joseph Bivens and Matthew Pointer to the fire department after meeting six-month probationary periods. The city also filled a vacant position in the fire department with Chris Rogers.