After decades of waiting to secure funds, the Toledo Fire Department will break ground Tuesday on a fire station for East Toledo, a structure slated to become the biggest fire station in the city.
The 18,000-square-foot Fire Station 6 will be on a city-owned plot at Oak and Fassett streets.
It will replace the station at 542 Starr Ave.
The new location provides easier access to I-75 and I-280 and is expected to decrease emergency response times, fire department officials said.
It will be much larger and more up-to-date than the current facility, which was built in 1951.
“We’re excited because it’s very close to the major highways and we’re going to have very quick accessibility to serve the community,” station Capt.Dave Rodriguez said Monday.
“The staff is just overwhelmed. They’re ready to move into a new station.”
Fire officials have talked about replacing Station No. 6 since the 1980s but never had the funds.
Then, in 2009, the federal government awarded Toledo a $3 million stimulus grant — one of 104 nationwide — for firehouse reconstruction.
The department’s accredited status with the nonprofit Center for Public Safety Excellence and the fact the city had a shovel-ready parcel on which to buildhelped secure the grant, spokesman Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said.
The city of Toledo will supply an additional $1.3 million for the project from its capital improvements fund.
The city’s share had originally been $750,000, but bids for the construction came in higher than expected, deputy mayor Steve Herwat explained.
The city had to appropriate the extra money this year, so as not to jeopardize the grant, he added.
Officials expect the new station to be occupied by August.
The firehouse will have 8,000 square feet of living space and 10,000 square feet for equipment.
The design includes a large classroom for training, an open kitchen, and an exercise room.
There will be five bays for fire trucks — two more than the current station — with drive-through capability.
The current building has a leaky roof, worn floor and ceiling, and a host of upkeep problems, Captain Rodriguez said.
“This is a very welcome change,” said firefighter Dan Desmond, who’s been employed at Station 6 for more than two decades.
“The anticipation has been awhile.”
Because of a lack of space, the station has kept some equipment in storage off-site, Mr. Rodriguez said. The new facility will allow the firefighters better access to the items they need.
He said the fire department has not decided on any changes in staffing levels. Seven firefighters are at the station daily.
Councilman Mike Craig, whose District 3 includes East Toledo, applauded the progress on Station 6.
He said he is working with project engineers to resolve some neighborhood parking problems that have come up as a result of the construction.
Some area residents had been parking their vehicles at the site, and now need a new spot to do that, the councilman explained.
“I think it will make a big difference to that neighborhood to have the station there. It’s going to put that corner to productive use,” Mr. Craig said.
“It’s going to clean up that corner and make it more attractive.”
Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6272.