Arlington City Council okays fire station remodel

Doug Schmidt, Arlington Fire Department medical services officer, points out a section of wall at Fire Station 46 that needs repair.  - Adam Rudnick
Doug Schmidt, Arlington Fire Department medical services officer, points out a section of wall at Fire Station 46 that needs repair.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington looks like it will finally get a remodeled Fire Station 46.

On Monday, Aug. 16, the City Council approved the city going to bid for a proposed renovation project that would demolish the station’s living quarters and replace it with a 3,900-square-foot structure.

The city is slated to advertise for bids in September and break ground on the new station in October, according to a memo issued by assistant city administrator Paul Ellis.

Earlier this month, the City Council approved issuing $6.1 million in bonds. A portion of those bonds, along with the sale of two pieces of city property and a settlement with Marysville Fire District 12 to take over service in Smokey Point, will give the city enough money to fund the reconstruction of the downtown fire station, located at 137 MacLeod Ave.

Those bonds were sold Aug. 2, said city of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield.

Plans for the renovated building, which city officials have had “shovel-ready” for more than a year, include additional living space for firefighters or city staff. Shovel-ready plans can go to bid within 30 days of funding becoming available.

In addition to adding another story to the structure, construction crews will also re-roof the building, which was constructed in 1961. Officials said that leaks over the truck bays and in the living area can no longer be fixed.

With the bonds being issued, officials said that they have about $1.7 million to fund the reconstruction project.

“It’s a good investment for making sure that we can provide excellent fire and emergency medical service,” Banfield said.

The city originally planned to fund the project with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 dollars from the federal government, but did not receive money to do so.

In February, the City Council deemed renovating the fire station its No. 1 goal for 2010.

“The building is in really poor conditions,” said Paul Ellis, assistant city administrator in charge of special projects. “We started looking at re-doing it a few years ago, but of course the economy tanked and it’s gone on hold just because of funding.”

Crews could be moving into the new quarters by April or May.

Doug Schmidt, Arlington Fire Department medical services officer, said that the new space will be a healthy building to live in.

Firefighters and paramedics have grown accustomed to leaky ceilings, cramped quarters and limited space, but that hasn’t been a source of contention.

“These guys haven’t really complained — they just want to make sure their equipment works first,” Schmidt said. “It will be a safe place for them. When they move in, it will be a nice building.”

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