Jacksonville, Fla. (July 16, 2018) – Danny Becton, the Jacksonville City Council member for the Eleventh District, announced that a purchase and sale agreement has been reached for a new fire station site to be home to Station #63 and will be located on Gate Parkway near Burnt Mill Road.
The fire station site is located north of a proposed new mixed-use development to be called “The Palms”. The site is approximately 2.72 acres and is being purchased from Nouveau Management Group, LLC in the amount of $1,757,740.
“The search for a new fire station site began in November 2015” Becton stated. “The Baymeadows East area of the district has experienced lots of growth with new homes and apartments. With this growth public safety services are stretched thin and additionally, some neighborhoods experienced ISO 10 issues which cost residents more in home insurance premiums” Becton explained.
“ISO 10 is the rating fire protection services are gauged”, Becton added. “1 is Best and 10 is Worse”. “Measuring the distance of 5 driving miles from the nearest fire station, properties in this zone are not only too far to have reliable services but homeowners can be penalized with higher insurance premiums too”. Hampton Park, a neighborhood off Baymeadows Road East has met this ISO 10 criteria for years.
“There are other future growth areas that also had to be considered in finding the location of this new fire station site as well.” Becton explained. “Future residences of e-Town will soon be built and they too will be part of this ISO 10 area”. “Placing a station in the right location is even more important to cover and benefit the future residents in these areas as our city grows”.
“Overlapping coverage is important too.” Becton stated. “Station 28 off Hogan Road is one of the busiest in the city along with Station #44 in Baymeadows among others”.
“And lastly, not getting it right can cost taxpayers big!” Becton added. “Choosing the wrong location, could create the need for three stations in District 11, instead of two to cover all communities within the District and this can cost taxpayers millions.” “In 2016, the estimate from my initial presentation to build-out a fire station in 2018 was $2.8 million dollars, not including the land purchase or capital expense for fire trucks and equipment.” Becton added. “Then you have to look at the recurring cost for a station is approximately $2.7 million.” “Again, as you can see getting the right location is very important for many reasons. Becton emphasized.
“With all that being said, I have to admit, this has been as challenging of an initiative as you will find.” Becton expressed. “The reason, property is scarce or unavailable.” “Many properties that you see undeveloped in our area, already have pre-defined plans or are just too many years in the making, therefore providing not enough options”.
CM Becton, during his presentation thanked many members of Mayor Curry’s administration including: Chief of Fire & Rescue, Kurt Wilson, COJ Public Works Director John Pappas, former Chief of Real Estate Stephanie Burch (now Director of Neighborhoods), current Chief of Real Estate Renee Hunter, along with Director of Parks Daryl Joseph. CM Becton added that a special Thank you goes out to Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa for his partnership in assembling his team at every step of the way on this initiative, helping to make this happen.
Also, in attendance was John Long, Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters, Captain Aaron Bebernitz representing current engine #63, and several of his firefighters working out of Station #44.
In the City of Jacksonville’s budget for 2017 – 2018, money was appropriated to fund the construction of the New Fire Station #63 along with the additional resources to create Fire & Rescue Company #63 which has been housed at Station #44 Baymeadows and Western Way, while the search for the permanent site took place. The purchase and sale agreement for the land must be approved by City Council, prior to the agreement being executed.
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