By Tamas Mondovics
It was nearly two years ago when residents first learned about the county’s plans to build a brand new fire station to better serve the FishHawk and Riverview communities.
County officials hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in May and are pleased to announce that construction of Fire Station No.44 is now well underway, with plans to complete the project by December 2017 and to open the new station to serve the public in early 2018.
“The fire station was much needed for the citizens of the area, so we can have quicker response times for those that call us in an emergency,” said Deputy Chief of Administration Jason Dougherty. The 9,300 sq. ft., three-bay fire station is located on the south side of Fishhawk Blvd. on a two-acre lot donated by Newland Communities, between Mosaic Dr. and Bell Shells Rd. Construction costs are approximately $2.8 million with a total budget of $3.4 million.
The project is managed by Mansour Yazdi, Real Estate and Facilities Services, and is funded through the Public Safety Improvement Bond Project Funds.
The three-bay station will mirror the newly completed station No. 7 on Bloomingdale Ave., which includes modern living quarters and workspace for each of the 24-hour full-time crew of five to six personnel each shift, a fire engine, and rescue unit.
In 2005, a site was originally designated for a fire station within the FishHawk Sports Complex, but officials decided that the new location will serve the community better.
Station No. 44, is promising to take the load off stations No. 2 in Lithia, and No.16 in Riverview near SR 301 as well as station No. 7 on Bloomingdale Ave., in Valrico.
HCFR Chief Dennis Jones emphasized the benefits of the new location, which he said will maximize response time for residents living in the area.
“The new station will be an Advanced Life Support station (ALS), with a fire engine ladder truck and Rescue Ambulance Unit,” Jones said adding that the new station will have a direct access to FishHawk Blvd. for fire rescue vehicles, which is something the property within the originally proposed sports complex site did not have.
Jones also emphasized that HCFR is currently working on a master plan covering the next 25 years, which based on current growth, includes the need for an additional 70 new stations.
A good example of HCFR looking ahead to better serve is its recent meeting with residents to discuss the purchase of a five-acre land as the site of a future fire station in the Keysville area.
Earlier this year, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, emergency operations officials, Fire Rescue personnel, and members of the community also celebrated the opening of the County’s brand new $36 million Public Safety Operations Complex (PSOC) in Brandon.
According to County officials the adopted $4.9 billion FY17 budget, which represents a $100 million increase over the previous year is a balanced, equitable plan to provide Hillsborough County residents with vital services.
Aside from funds to support Fire Rescue, the increase meant new funding for transportation, public safety, parks, and libraries for Hillsborough County.
For more information, please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.