By Tamas Mondovics
Following a ceremonial groundbreaking this month, Bloomingdale area residents will witness construction crews hard at work on the county’s newest fire station scheduled to be built.
Slated for completion by Spring of 2015, the new 9,300 sq. ft., three-bay fire station will replace the existing South Brandon Fire Station (#7) currently located at 122 W. Bloomingdale Ave., just west of John More Rd., relocating it to the new site at 1292 Bloomingdale Ave., east of Bell Shoals Rd., between the intersections of Springvale Dr. and Hurley Rd.
Funding for the $2.3 million project is through Impact Fees, Unincorporated Area Construction Funds and the Public Safety Improvement Bond Project Funds.
According to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Facilities Manager Tim Donahue, the new station is the County’s third newest station, including Station #18 in Seffner in 2010 and Station #17 in Ruskin in 2012.
The purchase of the Bloomingdale Ave. property at a cost of $472,000 was unanimously approved by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners in January 2013, which then prompted the department to meet with local residents for their input.
Before deciding on a brand new location and building project, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) considered the question of whether to rebuild at the original location, but a study conducted by the department as well as an outside consultant indicated that it would be appropriate to relocate the facility to a new site.
Donahue said that the replacement station will be a huge improvement compared to the now 40-year-old South Brandon station for several reasons including cost effectiveness.
“The new station will be much better located to serve our residents,” Donahue said, adding, “Shorter distance to reach each call means improved response time for the Bloomingdale community.”
The station will be operated by a total of 18 firefighters sporting a six-member crew per shift around the clock.
Emphasizing additional reasons for the necessity for a new station, HCFR Chief Ron Rogers said that the station currently serving the community is too small and does not meet the standards for apparatus bay or crew quarters.
Fire Rescue plans to renovate or relocate a total of nine stations throughout the county.
Plans for a new central Brandon fire station to be built on Paul’s Dr. is also in the making and will likely become a reality by the end of 2017.
For more information about HCFR, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.