Jasper Highlands is a premier Tennessee community located on the beautiful Jasper Highlands Plateau, overlooking the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. However, soon after the first homes were built, it became apparent that there was no local fire department willing to respond to emergencies in the area. With two hundred and fifty homesites sold and no fire safety coverage, the homeowners grew concerned about their safety and rising home insurance costs. Hearing about this issue, Solomon Safety promptly reached out to the developers of Jasper Highlands to offer their assistance.
Solomon Safety, led by founder James Wessel, is renowned for supporting local fire departments across the United States and Canada. Wessel’s passion for serving fire departments drove him to establish Solomon Safety, and it was that same passion that motivated him to connect with the developers of Jasper Highlands, resulting in a partnership.
Working closely with the developers, Mr. Wessel and Solomon Safety devised a comprehensive plan to equip, train, and manage a volunteer fire department within the community. They acquired the necessary apparatus and gear to operate the fire department, even though there was no dedicated Fire Station initially. The department was temporarily housed in a large construction warehouse on the property.
Only a few months into the operation of the fully functional fire department, Solomon Safety once again collaborated with Jasper Highlands to develop and execute a plan for constructing an “in-community” fire station. On November 4, 2017, the new station was dedicated.
Today, thanks to this unique partnership between Jasper Highlands and Solomon Safety, residents enjoy peace of mind knowing they have reliable fire safety coverage, and their homeowners’ insurance rates have decreased.
In a letter from Chief Lowell Hardin, he expressed his gratitude for the collaboration that made the new fire station a reality. Initially, the volunteer fire department operated from the community’s maintenance building, which was not an ideal location for parking trucks, storing gear, or providing training facilities. However, through the joint efforts of the developer, the homeowners’ association, and a private investor, a brand new fire station was constructed within the community.
The homeowner’s association pays a nominal annual fee per lot for the use of the fire station, covering its maintenance and utilities, while the investor, who has a deep understanding of the fire industry and is a long-time volunteer firefighter, owns the asset. This arrangement benefited all parties involved, as the fire chief received a new station at no cost, the homeowner’s association obtained a dedicated fire station without incurring debt, and the investor gained a long-term return on investment through the fees paid by the homeowner’s association.
Chief Lowell Hardin personally expressed his utmost satisfaction with the process and praised the investor’s commitment to supporting those who serve others, highlighting the positive impact this partnership has had on the Jasper Highlands community.
A Letter from Chief Lowell Hardin
When we first established the volunteer fire department we operated from the community’s maintenance building that was serving several purposes. It was far from an ideal location for us to park trucks, store gear or provide a place for training.
The developer, department and residents’ desire was to have their own fire station within the growing community. However, none of these entities were in a position to fund the construction.
Our VFD certainly did not have the money, the community homeowner’s association did not want to take on debt, and the developer had not budgeted for a stand alone fire station.
The solution that realized a brand new station was all three groups partnering with a private individual to for 100% of the construction as a long term investment. The community HOA agreed to pay a nominal amount per lot annually for the use of the fire station and we, the VFD, pays the utilities and upkeep.
It was a win for everyone.
As a Fire Chief, I got a brand new station at no cost, the HOA got a brand new station without taking on any debt and the investor owns an asset that over time generates a return for him through the nominal amount paid per lot by the HOA.
Personally, I can’t say enough positive things about the process. The investor understands the fire industry and has been a volunteer firefighter for many years. One of his passions is supporting those who serve others.
Jasper Highlands Volunteer Fire Department