Jacksonville, FL (September 22, 2021) – This morning Council Member Danny Becton was on hand with Mayor Lenny Curry and JFRD Chief Powers, Firefighters Union President Randy Wyse, and Council President Sam Newby to break ground on what will be the future home of Fire Station #74. This new station will fill a critical need to the residents of District 11 in covering the extensive growth that has occurred within the area. Construction of this new station is estimated to take approximately 10 – 12 months.
With the passage of last year’s 2020-21 budget, funding was secured for Fire Station 74, providing $5.5 million for the buildout and furnishings within the eTown community. In building this station, it will look to support emergency calls and fire responses from Baymeadows to the North, Nocatee to the South, include properties within Flagler Center and along the corridor of Philips Hwy traveling South from 9B.
As for the property and location, these became a donation provided by the Davis Family as a result of discussions and meetings between Council Member Becton and the family’s representative, The Parc Group. Upon a 4-Alarm fire in the Spring of 2020 within the Baymeadows area, where a new multi-family development caught fire and cased millions of dollars in damages, it became more pressing to get this station built as it was obvious that new communities were just at risk as older ones. It was May 22, 2020, after months of discussion and looking to locate the perfect site, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed. In addition to the land donation, the Parc Group also donated their time, design team and the engineering to help expedite the process of getting this new facility under construction sooner rather than later.
The MOU agreement set aside two acres of land that would be identified by the landowners that also would provide for the necessary paved road access, services for water and sewer, along with stormwater retention. While the new fire station is being constructed by Auld and White Constructors, the possibility of moving the facilities of temporary Fire Station #63 to this location after its use was also discussed.
As coverage of emergency services has always been a priority for the Southern part of District 11 in Duval County, it should be noted that the City of Jacksonville and St. Johns County have a Mutual Aid Agreement (MAA) that provides for inter-local fire and rescue services to be provided across county lines. With this new fire station in place, both counties will be better able to respond to emergency situations and to help each other when the need arises.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Chief Powers acknowledged the 3+ year hard work and effort of Council Member Danny Becton in finding this opportunity to make this Station a reality. He also stated that the investment of this new Fire Station was an example of the city’s commitment to public safety, providing Jacksonville first responders with the best fire and rescue facilities to be found anywhere. In speaking to the design, he stated “that this station will look different than any other station currently operating in Jacksonville as it was a priority to blend this new facility into the design of the eTown community.” Chief Powers concluded his remarks with, “eTown and the surrounding community is in dire need of a fire station to reduce response times and lower insurance rates for residents and commercial businesses of this rapidly growing area. So again, I want to thank Mayor Curry, Council Member Becton, and the entire City Council for their collaborative effort to ensure the safety of eTown and our great city.”
CM Becton also spoke and had this to say:
“Today, I am excited to be here with Mayor Curry and Chief Powers in having this opportunity to Break Ground on New Fire Station #74, right here in District 11 and located within this exciting new community of eTown. As I have stated on many occasions, in our city’s $1.4 billion dollar budget, Public Safety is Priority #1. As a result of that commitment, this station for our first responders will reflect the best and most up-to-date facilities that can be provided, to deliver the response times and support that our surrounding neighborhoods and communities deserve. From eTown to Baymeadows and to the Southern portion of Duval within Nocatee, this station will be vital in providing that coverage of this growing area.
It was just about year and a-half ago, that our NEW temporary Station #63 on Gate Parkway was instrumental in saving millions of dollars of commercial property and nearby residential homes, by being the first on-scene for a massive, 3-Alarm fire. The Fusion Apartment fire that ultimately required 110 firefighters, 45 apparatus, 14 engines and 7-ladder trucks to fight that blaze reminded us that these events do not just happen around older structures but new construction, as well. If it was not for those men and women of Station #63, it could have been so much worse.
As I look back at the many partners who have helped get us to this accomplishment for this new Fire Station 74, I want to first thank Mayor Lenny Curry and everyone in his administration, along with the many team members within JFRD who were involved with this project, but I especially want to say “Thank You” to JED Davis and his family, along with the PARC Group who helped us locate this property, donate this site and provide their expertise in working together with the city to develop the plans that got us here sooner rather than later. Also, I would like to say “Thank You” to my fellow Council Members who passed and approved this funding, as well.
In closing, this new fire station is a major accomplishment that will continue to save lives and property, long into the future. I am excited to be here this morning to Break Ground on this New Fire Station #74!”