City moves forward with plans for first of three new fire stations

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield is moving forward with the design phase for the first of three new fire stations that will be built in the city by 2026 as millions of federal relief dollars will be invested in those projects.

The first station that the city plans to build will be located at a former Wendy’s location on South Limestone Street and is part of larger plans to improve fire services provided in the area.

Springfield will pay App Architecture $350,000 for the design work for the South Limestone Street firehouse. The total cost of the new station could be up to $6 million and construction is slated to start around late summer or early fall of this year.

The station is expected to open by late 2023, said Springfield Fire Chief Brian Miller. The other two stations will likely be built around the same time of each other as the city has to spend the money that will be used for those projects by 2026, said Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck.

The other two stations that will be built includes one on Burt Street, in which the city purchased that property last year for $300,000. The other will be located at 3925 South Charleston Pike. Springfield commissioners on Tuesday voted to authorize Heck to enter into a purchase agreement for that property with Yingst Holdings LLC for $305,000.

All three fire stations that will be built will be funded by using some of the city’s American Rescue Plan allocation. The cost of each fire station project and the city’s investment, using those federal relief dollars, into those projects will range, but could be up to $5 million each.

The city was allocated $44.2 million in federal relief provided by the American Rescue Plan and has until 2024 to allocate that money for projects and expenditures. The deadline to spend the money is December 2026.

All of the money that will be invested by the city into the three new fire stations will come from that allocation.

In terms of the South Limestone location, the city plans on investing $5 million of American Rescue Plan funds. The rest of the costs would be covered by other parties including Clark State College as it is a partner in the South Limestone project.

Clark State has a fire training program and the director of that program is also a battalion chief for the Springfield Fire/Rescue division. The college is looking to have a classroom on site at the South Limestone station as well as some storage for their fire apparatus.

“So there is an opportunity for us to share the classroom because we have educational needs in the fire (division) and they have them at Clark State. They are going to bring some money to the table, the city is going to bring some money to the table and we are going to sit down with the architect and see if we can blend both interest into one building,” said Miller.

The new stations would replace existing ones in the city and allow Springfield’s fire division to modernize their facilities as well as accommodate new pieces of equipment.

The city is still determining if it’s going to keep the number of stations at seven once the new stations are completed or consolidate to having a total of six stations serving Springfield.

Heck said that they are hoping to improve services as well as decrease estimated run times for fire crews. He said that the city wanted to build one of the new stations in the east part of the city to accommodate home growth as new housing developments are being built in that area.

The process on the other two stations is slated to start during the construction of the station on South Limestone Street. The idea is to have the other stations completed as early as 2024, Heck said.

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