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The Bell administration has drafted a plan to save historic Fire Station 3 and improve emergency response time and coverage in the city’s north end.
A proposal to renovate and expand the 85-year-old building at 701 Bush St. and construct a fire station in Blair Park, near Summit Street and Suder Avenue, was presented Friday to council members.
The plan satisfies concerns of residents and groups who feared permanently shuttering the building would leave the neighborhood unprotected while also fulfilling Fire Chief Luis Santiago's desire to improve service in the north end.
Chief Santiago closed Station 3 in mid-September after its truck bays' concrete floors buckled, threatening firefighters' safety.
Equipment and personnel were moved temporarily, but indefinitely, across the Maumee River to Station 13 on Front Street in East Toledo, about a mile away from the Bush Street firehouse.
Residents told city councilmen during an Oct. 23 hearing they wanted Station 3 repaired and reopened. At the time, the administration proposed building a new firehouse at the 2000 Summit St. site of Jamie Farr pool.
City spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said the decision to keep the Station 3 building and build a new firehouse was reached after studying service-call statistics, which showed a gap in coverage in North Toledo near Suder and Manhanttan Boulevard.
“There was a great desire by councilmen and neighbors to maintain the existing Fire Station 3, to rehabilitate it, and if necessary, expand it to meet the needs of the department and accommodate the firefighters who are staffed out of there and live in that station,” Ms. Sorgenfrei said. “The plan will accommodate the immediate neighborhood by maintaining the fire department presence there, and also address the gap in coverage to assure we have adequate response services throughout the city.”
The new station will become Fire Station 12, the name of a firehouse at Suder and Manhattan that was closed in 1980.
Under the administration’s plan, the Station 3 project will involve construction of an attached building with two truck bays and converting the station into living quarters.
Station 12 is to be built on the site of basketball courts in Blair Park, at Adrian and Chase streets. The new station's service area will span from north of Galena Street to south of Point Place.
The two projects' combined estimated cost is $4.5 million.
Ms. Sorgenfrei said the projects’ funding will be drawn from the city capital improvements fund, and officials will apply for grants or loans to reduce the city's net cost, she said.
Chief Santiago said the plan to save Station 3 will improve coverage.
Council President Joe McNamara praised the Bell administration for honoring the concerns of the neighborhood around Station 3.
“My philosophy is that the city should use its resources to strengthen neighborhoods. This is an excellent example of where a fire station can be an anchor to the community,” he said.
Terry Glazer, who heads the community development corporation United North, said having two fire stations will improve residents' safety.
“We are saving a historical building and keeping the presence of the fire department in that neighborhood,” Mr. Glazer said.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.