By Tamas Mondovics

With a brand new fire station opening on Bloomingdale Ave., not to mention a number of renovations and upgrades on many of its existing stations as well as the recent, much-anticipated, groundbreaking for a new Public Emergency Operation Center in Brandon, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) can hardly complain about lack of support by the County and its residents.

HCFR is now turning its attention to the proposed, County-approved brand new fire station No. 44 to be built in FishHawk to serve area residents along with the surrounding Riverview area communities located near, or off Boyette and Bell Shoals Roads.

The proposed 2-acre site donated to HCFR by Newland Communities is located on the south side of FishHawk Boulevard, between Mosaic Dr. and Bell Shoals Rd., and calls for a three-bay station mirroring the newly completed station No. 7 on Bloomingdale Ave.

“The new station would house a crew of five to six personnel each shift, a fire engine, and rescue unit,” said Deputy Fire Chief Ron Rogers just moments following the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Emergency Center in Brandon.

Rogers added that Fire Rescue proposes to set up a temporary station at the FishHawk Sports Complex in 2016, while design of the permanent station begins. In 2005, a site was originally designated for a fire station within the FishHawk Sports Complex but Rogers said the new location is more centrally located and will serve the community better.

“The proposed new location will maximize response to residents in the area,” Rogers said. “It will have a direct access to FishHawk Boulevard for Fire Rescue vehicles, which is something the property within the sports complex did not have. We are pleased with the BOCC’s approval of this project.”

County Commissioners approved the $3.4 million in funding for design and construction of FishHawk Fire Station No. 44. It also gave the green light to some additional minor changes, including an additional access point to be used by the station with no regional impact.

With a 6-0 vote during its land use meeting last month, the BOCC quickly moved the project along.

Hillsborough County had also scheduled a public meeting in June to discuss the site of the new fire station with area residents held in the cafeteria of Barrington Middle School, 5925 Village Center Drive, in Lithia, near the proposed site in the FishHawk Ranch community.

“It will take about eight months to build the new station and we are hoping for a completion in 2017,” Rogers said. For more information, residents may call Steve Valdez, Customer Engagement Division Director, at 272-5275.