Fire Station gets green light for relocation

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:01 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

COLUMBIA - The Fire Department can start calling for bids to build the relocated Fire Station No. 7 since the Columbia City Council approved construction of the station at its regular meeting Monday night.

Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said once the council approved construction of the station the fire department will authorize a bid for a contractor. The bid will go through the purchasing department and may take time to process due to the many factors that go into the bid, Sapp said. He said he does not have a timetable for the process, and they want to carefully evaluate the bids to make sure contractors can produce on time and on budget.

The construction was authorized without public comment at the council meeting, although public meetings about the fire station were held previously.

“The neighbors seemed to be accepting of the fire station,” Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said.

The new Fire Station No. 7 will be located in the Fifth Ward at the corner of Green Meadows Road and Green Meadows Circle, a half-mile west of its current site on Providence Road. The new location is expected to improve response times, and the new station will replace a station in need of repairs. The new station will also follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, making the building more environmentally sustainable.

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said before he voted he wanted to hear public opinion on the station.

“Some of the folks, it’s kind of a mixed bag. They are happy to have a fire station close but worried about the noise,” he said.

He said there has been community involvement and input, which may have helped relieve worries of residents who live near the site. Previous concerns of the neighbors included noise, lighting and traffic that the station could cause.

Nauser brought up another concern at the meeting.

She said she heard about the possibility of a roundabout to ease traffic near the station.

“I just want to put it out there right now,” she said. “Please don’t go forth with that. Just giving the fire station their own corner was contentious enough,” Nauser said among laughter from the council. Nauser said the process was long, but she was excited for the new station. “It just goes to show how people working together can come to a consensus and give and take a little bit and everybody comes out somewhat pleased with the end product,” she said.

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