City Council approves new fire station in Sun City
By VERNON ROBISON
Mesquite City Council approved a proposal to build another new fire station at a meeting held on Tuesday, June 14. The new station would be carefully located to provide better response times to the Sun City community and other neighborhoods and businesses north of I-15. Approval was still tentative as funding for the facility of approximately $4 million has yet to be determined.
Last week’s discussion began with a presentation from Mesquite Fire Chief Jayson Andrus.
Andrus acknowledged that it’s only been a few months since council approved plans for a new No. 1 fire station to be located on Mesquite Blvd. just south of the Mesquite Library. He noted that a central downtown facility is necessary due to the volume of calls in the downtown area and along the nearby resort corridor. A new facility is needed there to replace the current dilapidated facility at Station #1 located behind City Hall.
“It’s time!” Andrus said of the current Station #1. “The building is old and it was never really intended to be a fire station. We’ve been running it for the past 30 years. But the time has come to build a new facility that was to be a fire station.
The council approved the new No. 1 Fire Station in February with an estimated cost of around $7 million. The council decided at that time to tap into funds from the city’s redevelopment agency (RDA) to build the new facility.
At last week’s meeting, Andrus went on to advocate for another new facility to be located at the corner of Canyon Crest and Horizon Blvd on the north end of town. The parcel had been deeded to the city by Del Webb Sun City for future public use.
“That way our crews could catch Horizon Blvd and be in Sun City within four minutes,” Andrus said.
Response times were the driving force in determining the need for this new station, Andrus said. He explained that the downtown placement of Station No. 1 and the placement of the current Station No. 3 in the Mesquite Industrial Park on the west side of town has resulted in extended response times in the northern part. from the city ; especially to the growing Sun City area.
“There are over 2,400 residential units currently in progress,” Andrus said. “And we see the future of our residential growth happening north of I-15.”
Currently, emergency medical service response times in Sun City and the northeast part of the city are averaging more than five minutes, Andrus said. The national standard and target for Mesquite is in the four-minute range, he added.
Andrus explained that when Station No. 3 was built, in 2008, the general consensus was that the western part of the city would see the highest and most immediate growth rates. But that growth has yet to materialize, he said.
“It’s a wonderful training facility and we appreciate it,” Andrus said of Station No. 3. “But if you consider the response time from there to Sun City and what we’re missing in Sun City as we speak i will be closing station #3 today and staffing the new station strictly on the current call volume that is happening in sun city that is already happening. That’s not even taking into account the growth to come there.
Andrus said the proposed new station would not require the purchase of additional devices or the hiring of new staff.
“Currently, we have enough devices to equip three stations,” he said. “And right now we have nine staff members. Most likely we would put four (firefighters) in the new #1 station due to our downtown call volume. And then we either dispatched them or put the remaining personnel in the Sun City station.
City council members expressed support for the idea, but were unsure where funding for the project would come from.
Andrus said one possible funding option would be to seek US bailout (ARPA) funds in the form of federal and state grants. He said the firefighters had already submitted an application to the Nevada League of Cities for state ARPA funding. Enough funds could be available in this program to cover the whole project, he said. Although he wasn’t sure when the grants were awarded.
Other financing options could include the use of additional RDA funding or the city issuing new bonds, Andrus said.
Councilman Brian Wursten asked if the item could be approved without a specific revenue source being defined.
Mesquite Mayor Litman said it could be done. That way, project engineering could begin as funding for the project is sought and finalized, he said.
“If we can move forward with that, which I think we should do tonight, then that would be just waiting for the funding source,” Litman said. “Everything else is just waiting.”
Wursten presented a motion to move forward with the proposed Station No. 2 project, completing plans and other preliminary work, with the final construction contract awaiting a source of funding. The motion was approved unanimously.