By Tamas Mondovics

Brandon area motorists have likely wondered about the recently posted signs near the intersection of Oakfield and Pauls Dr. alerting residents of plans for a new fire station serving the community in the near future.

According to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) Facilities Manager Tim Donahue, the signs are for real and, if things go as hoped, a new Central Brandon fire station will become a reality sometime in 2017.

“Notifying our residents of the plans for this new station may seem a little early, but Fire Chief Ron Rogers wanted to make sure his desire to see a new station serving the Brandon community gets out there as soon as possible,” Donahue said.

The parcel available for the project is part of the land acquired by the County in 2003, which is now home to the County’s Clerk of Circuit Court, Brandon Regional Service Center, located at 311 Pauls Dr. in Brandon.

Donahue said that the recent increase of service calls and the estimated growth in Hillsborough County has prompted the department’s plans for a new station to serve the area.

HCFR has actually been busy in recently implementing its goal to renovate or relocate a total of nine of its stations throughout the county.

The department began construction this month of its newest station, which will serve the Bloomingdale community.

Slated to open by spring of 2015, the new 9,300 sq. ft., three-bay fire station will replace and relocate the existing South Brandon Fire Station (#7) currently located at 122 W. Bloomingdale Ave., just west of John Moore Rd., to its new site at 1292 Bloomingdale Ave., east of Bell Shoals Rd. between the intersections of Springvale Dr. and Hurley Rd. The ambulance service will also relocate from Station 37 now located just east of Little Rd. in Valrico.

Funding for the $2.3 million project is through Impact Fees, Unincorporated Area Construction Funds and the Public Safety Improvement Bond Project Funds.

“The new station will be much better located to serve our residents,” Donahue said, adding that the 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.

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