ST. GEORGE – A two-acre parcel of land along East Commerce Drive will be the site of an incoming fire station in the near-future that will serve the Fort Pierce Industrial Park and Little Valley area.
“Our closest station right now that serves that general area is on 2315 S. River Road – Station 3,” St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.
Last week the St. George City Council approved the purchase of approximately 2 acres of land for $180,000 located on what is planned to be the intersection of East Commerce Drive and Bentley Road.
“That gives us good coverage in the Little Valley area and the Fort Pierce Industrial Park,” Stoker said.
As Little Valley is one of the fastest growing parts of St. George, a new fire station directly serving the area has been on the table for a while. However, some potential locations haven’t met the needs of the fire station or its available budget.
“When we’re looking at our station sites we try to put them geographically where we’re going to need them,” Stoker said.
The Fire Department also likes to place its stations on main roads in order to avoid going through residential areas as much as possible. They cut through neighborhoods as necessary, Stoker said, but doing so can negatively affect the Fire Department’s response time to an incident.
Proposed sites in the middle of residential areas weren’t exactly seen as feasible, while others were too small for the space a fire station needs. Other plots proved cost-prohibitive for various reasons, such as needing extensive ground work done before building could take place.
Once the parcel on East Commerce Drive is purchased, ground work will begin in preparation for the construction of the new fire station that is anticipated to begin after next July, when the new budget year starts.
At the moment, only the purchase of the 2 acres, plus a design plan, were covered by the city’s 2016-17 budget, Stoker said.
Funding for new fire stations comes through impact fees, Stoker said, and if funding for the new station appears sooner, they’ll get the station started earlier, otherwise the next budget year it is.
The new fire station will resemble the design used for Stations 7 and 8 in the Dixie Downs and Sun River areas respectively, with the construction cost being around $1.6 million.
Work on infrastructure in the area, such as connecting East Commerce Drive and Bentley Road, will also be underway.
Once up and running, Stoker said they plan to staff the Little Valley fire station with at least 10 reserve firefighters at first. Full-time fighters will come on aboard as funds become available, he said. The ideal is to have three full-time firefighters for three shifts covering 24 hours.
Equipment will include at least one fire engine and whatever else may be necessary to meet the needs of the area. Other vehicles could include a ladder truck, brush trucks to deal with wildfires, and so on, Stoker said.
In addition to the incoming Little Valley fire station, the city may also add two more fire stations in the following decades or so.
“We’re also looking down the road, possibly at a station south of Little Valley down in the Desert Canyons area by the airport, and possibly over by Tonaquint also,” Stoker said. “We’re looking at two or three (fire stations) in the next five to 10 years.”
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