The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

New fire station on the front burner

Falcon Fire Protection District is moving ahead with plans to build a new fire station – this time, in Woodmen Hills at the corner of Meridian Ranch Boulevard and Stapleton Road.Alex Donnell, volunteer firefighter and former Falcon fire district board member, provided information about the FFPD’s plans at the December Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District meeting, said Larry Bishop, Woodmen Hills district manager.Woodmen Hills resident Natalie Gowen attended the meeting and said many residents living near the lot where the new fire station will be built were unhappy with the plans.The lot has been available to the FFPD since the Woodmen Hills development was first planned, said FFPD Chief Trent Harwig.Harwig said he hopes to release a request-for-proposal in January to several contractors, including Hammers Construction Inc., which designed a new station at Rolling Thunder Business Park. Plans for the latter station fell through in August when Lowe’s backed out of a deal involving the purchase of the land currently occupied by FFPD’s station at Highway 24 and Meridian Road.The goal is to “have a contract awarded and be able to move forward in March,” Harwig said. “We would like to get the new station built in 2009.” He also said the new station will be double the size of station No. 1 and include living quarters.Former FFPD board member Dan Kupferer said he visited the parcel and concluded the site is “good and plenty big enough.”The median on Stapleton Road presents a challenge for access. “The only real downside is that fire department access will probably have to come off the street on the south [Royal County Down Road],” Kupferer said.He said the lot is bound on the west by a drainage easement that seems to be functioning properly.”We just had some people from Land Development Consultants look at the lot,” Harwig said. “They seemed to think the lot will be fine and that there won’t be any unnecessary charges [to build on it].”The FFPD’s 2009 budget includes funds to build the new fire station under a lease-purchase arrangement, as well as money for building living quarters at station No. 2 on Meridian Road just north of Murphy Road, Harwig said.”Our goal is to lower our response times for that area, and the only way we can do that is to provide staffing,” he said. “It’s going to be done in multiple ways, between reserves, volunteers and career.”We’re designing it in a way that leaves our options open. We have a lot of reserve volunteer firefighters that can staff. We also are looking at a residency program where if you commit to a shift, we give you that place to live.”We have five firefighters on duty per day at station No. 1. We can take two of them up there [station No. 2] and leave three of them here. In the event of a structure fire or something that takes more personnel, they would all just assemble on scene, rather than all go in one truck.”The FFPD’s 20-year strategic plan projected the need for a fire station at Meridian Road and Rex Road, but with the new Woodmen Hills fire station and the eventual staffing of station No. 2, the Rex Road station will no longer be needed, Harwig said.”Ever since we asked for the mill levy increase, we’ve said we can do capital improvements or we can do [paid] staffing. We can’t do both at once, but eventually we can,” he said. “I could take the $250,000 a year we’ll be putting in payments for buildings and put it into staffing, but I can’t do that and build the buildings. We’re heavily reliant on volunteerism, and that’s OK. So, we’ll build the buildings, but it will limit us on who we can hire for the foreseeable future.”Harwig added that they will continue to use station No. 1 for service, training, board meetings and administration. However, it’s always up for sale.”Hopefully, somebody buys us out here sooner than later,” Harwig said. “And we can pay that lease purchase off.”

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers