Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012 11:45 pm | Updated: 9:50 am, Mon Jul 30, 2012.
By Clinton Thomas St. Joseph News-Press
Next month’s Capital Improvements Program vote could help the Fire Department in its battle against aging infrastructure.
Voters will decide Aug. 7 on the renewal of a half-cent sales tax to raise an estimated $30 million over the next six years for projects throughout St. Joseph.
A citizens CIP committee selected the projects earlier this year from a list of more than 60 projects with a potential price tag of $110 million, then whittled that number down to what the city could afford.
Public safety would gain $8 million, with $6 million dedicated to two new fire stations and purchasing land for a third, $1.3 million going toward radio upgrades and the rest paying for an armored vehicle for the Police Department and a pumper truck for the Fire Department.
Mayor Bill Falkner said the additional fire stations would address problems of old stations which have trouble accommodating modern equipment. The department will also have the chance to re-evaluate station locations to improve response times.
“Most of our fire stations were designed back in the day, and with the population shift we’re going to be looking at new locations,” Mr. Falkner said.
Brad McAnally, co-chairman of the CIP committee, said Station No. 9, at 22nd Street and Frederick Avenue; Station No. 11, at 2329 S. 18th St.; and the department’s headquarters Downtown were the main candidates for relocation.
The department will determine which stations to replace at a later date. After constructing two new stations, the city will purchase land for a third, which could be funded as a future CIP project or through other means.
The city previously considered moving Station No. 9 to the Geiger Mansion before the council decided to sell the building.