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Remodel of Fire Station 46 preparing to be ‘shovel ready’
ARLINGTON — Using $500,000 left over from the North Olympic Avenue project, the city is planning to remodel its first fire station, Fire Station 46, on MacLeod Avenue in downtown Arlington.
They hope to get the balance of a $1.5 million budget from the federal stimulus package.
“We heard there is money for fire stations,” said the city’s assistant administrator in charge of capital projects, Paul Ellis.
“We are close to being shovel ready,” Ellis said.
“Shovel ready” is one of the criteria for funding from the federal government to provide jobs and keep people working. The city sent a list of projects including the fire station remodel, its Waste Water Treatment Plant, and other projects to the Puget Sound Regional Council, which will be responsible for distributing stimulus funds around the region.
Acting as the city’s Design Review Board, the Arlington Planning Commission reviewed a proposed design for the remodel by Carletti Architects P.S. at its Feb. 19 meeting.
The remodel would provide a 3,900-square-foot fire station building on the existing 0.9 acre. An expansion of the south end of the existing building to two stories would accommodate living space for the 24-hour shift firefighters and paramedics. The current administration building will be removed to make room for a new vehicle parking area and the existing truck bays would be renovated, according to planning commission documents.
The current fire station was built in 1961 when the fire station was moved from City Hall.
After members of the planning commission commented that the proposed new building looks like a Starbucks, Peter Clinton of Carletti & Architects P.S. said it was a conscious decision.
“We wanted it to be upscale and modern while reminiscent of the historical buildings in town,” Clinton said.
“We designed the living space so it will be flexible for other uses,” he added.
Indeed, it is the vision of city officials to design the building to be adaptable for future needs, if and when two new fire stations can be built. Long-range plans include a new station in west Arlington to serve Smokey Point Boulevard to Island Crossing and later on, another new station to serve downtown, east Arlington and the Brekhus Beach annexation area, Ellis said.
The proposed location at the southwest corner of Arlington airport has been dropped as the site for the next fire station serving west Arlington, said assistant Fire Chief Tom Cooper and community development director David Kuhl.
“With the annexation of Island Crossing, it makes more sense to have a fire station on Smokey Point Boulevard,” Cooper said.
“Eventually we would downgrade or decommission the current fire station 47 on the east side of the airport,” Ellis said. The cleared site at the airport will be available for lease, Ellis added.
He also explained the new trees planted on the edge of that lot along 172nd Street.
“They tried doing selective logging and leaving the good trees, but there was only eight good trees and they were so scattered it was decided they would not be safe,” Ellis said. “We didn’t want any big trees falling down on 172nd Street so we removed the big trees and replanted the buffer.”
Other shovel ready projects
The city’s public works director, James Kelly, has other plans for stimulus funds, along with the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
“We are just getting ready to hire consultants to start planning the final phase of the 67th Avenue project,” Kelly said. While that project is clearly not shovel ready, Kelly believes it could be shovel ready for the next round of stimulus funds in 180 days.
“We are getting close to choosing one of three proposals as we speak,” Kelly said Feb. 19, about the last section of 67th from Cemetery Road north into downtown. It has been surveyed and Kelly hopes to have a 30 percent design concept done by August.
The last phase of 67th is very important to downtown, Kelly said.
“This needs to be a gem of a project,” he said. “It’s the south access to downtown for cars and the trail. It needs a theme.” He said they have already started meeting with property owners along the route.
He admits there are a lot of demands for the stimulus funds.
“We need to be prepared,” he said.
Kelly is also preparing to design the storm water wetland project which is a continuation of the WWTP project.
“We are planning a public meeting in March to discuss design.”