By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) Chief, Dennis Jones, joined by county representatives, met with residents last month to discuss the purchase of land as the site of a future fire station in the Keysville area.
The open house meeting, held in the auditorium of Durant High, saw a small group of residents who got a chance to hear some details about the proposed station, as well as share their input.
According to Jones, the five-acre parcel under consideration is located on the east side of CR 39, a quarter-mile north of Keysville Rd.
“There is currently no funding and construction of a fire station has not yet been scheduled or budgeted,” Jones said, adding that it is a property that the department is looking at because it is located in an area that needs a new station in the near future.” The proposed purchase price of the vacant lot was $100,000, and was approved by the Board of County Commission, funded by the Capital Improvement Program.
Jones said that the department considered other properties as well, but settled on the proposed site for a number of reasons, including its central location as well as nearby crossroads, a major benefit when it comes to improving emergency response time.
Jones emphasized that HCFR is considering a standard footprint for the new station designed to meet current fire station standards, which consists of a 9,000-sq. ft. building with three bays, that includes modern living quarters and workspace for each of the 24-hour full-time crew of three.
“The new station will be an ALS or Advanced Life Support station, with a fire engine ladder truck, but there are no current plans for a Rescue Ambulance truck,” Jones said.
County officials also confirmed that HCFR is currently working on a master plan covering the next 25 years, which based on current growth, according to Jones, includes the need for an additional 70 new stations.
Each new station takes approximately two years to build at a cost of $2.3 million. The next station to be built is station No.44 in FishHawk, located on FishHawk Blvd. just south of the Boyette Rd., and Bell Shoals Rd., intersection.
Construction of the FishHawk station is scheduled for competition in late 2017 or early 2018. For information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.