Jacksonville, FL (May 22, 2020) – Its Official; nearly eight months after announcing the opening of the temporary Fire Station #63 off Gate Parkway, Councilman Becton has successfully worked and confirmed the pathway to having another New Fire Station in the District in the very near future, operational to become New Fire Station #74.
Fire Station #74 is now under a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SONOC Company LLC to collaborate with the City of Jacksonville to help expedite construction and operation of this new facility. The MOU includes a build ready site within eTown and access to the necessary road infrastructure that will provide extended coverage within the southern portion of District 11.
“District 11 is one of the fastest growing areas within our city. As in years past, some areas fell victim to becoming ISO 10 designated, meaning the worse fire rating possible. Therefore, potentially costing homeowners more in insurance payments and not receiving the response times for emergencies that is desired” CM Becton explained. “Also, with the location of these stations, this accomplishes my big picture coverage plan to minimum the number of new stations in the most efficient manner by having the stations in the right spots, needing only to build two not three, for the future needs.”
Fire Station #74 would support emergency calls and fire responses as far South as to the area of Nocatee and the southern Philips Highway area (South of I295) and within the new communities of eTown plus south Baymeadows. This coverage would overlap with New Station #63 on Gate Parkway, Station #54 on Philips Highway Avenues and Station #62 in Bartram Park. While Duval and St. Johns county will continue to have a Mutual Aid Agreement (MAA) that provides for inter-local fire and rescue services, both counties will respond to emergency situations across county lines. This coverage extends to provide fire services throughout Nocatee by St. Johns County and by Duval County for North St. Johns County including their new town center.
“This coverage of essential services that the City of Jacksonville owes to our homeowners, is now planned for the future”, CM Becton exclaimed. “It will be rewarding to see in the next few years that we were able to be proactive, rather than reactive to this vital need”, CM Becton noted. “Having previous experience with Fire Station #63, what is surprising is how difficult real estate is to find in this area for public purposes and if it can be found, typically very expensive.”
Due to the size of District 11, the number of fire stations in place prior to 2016 was far too few and caused longer than normal response times from JFRD. According to a News4Jax investigative report, “Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department response times was averaging only 50% of the time to get to an emergency location within six minutes,” which is critical to saving a life and property.
“This MOU with the eTown development group (Parc Group) provides certainty that we now have a location and are well on our way to getting this new Fire Station up and running in the shortest time possible,” Council member Becton acknowledged. “The Parc Group, in understanding how important it is to have these services now, as witnessed by a recent fire within the Baymeadows area, resulting in an entire apartment building in construction, burnt to the ground. This became a stark reminder to everyone that it’s not just older homes and buildings that are susceptible to emergencies.”