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Possible fire trucks’ home: Put ’em in park

Greg Masse
Staff Writer

Emergency calls to the Strawberry Days festival soon could take no time at all. That’s because one proposed location for a new Glenwood Springs fire station is in Sayre Park.

But Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper insists the station’s current location at 8th and Cooper is the best spot.

The final location for the new station No. 2 hasn’t been determined yet, but Sayre Park was given strong consideration by council members at a Thursday night City Council work session.

“We want to stay here,” Piper said of the Eighth and Cooper site. “We really need to be here. This is the perfect response area.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Piper pointed out that about 30 percent of fire and emergency calls come from the downtown core.

“This is the best place. It’s the easiest and most logical place,” Piper said.

Aside from Sayre Park and the current location, the other potential fire station location is behind the U.S. Forest Service building on Ninth and Cooper.

Support for the Ninth and Cooper location, however, appeared to be dwindling Thursday.

“The fabric of a city is to have a fire station in the center of town,” Piper said at the meeting.

Sayre Park is being looked at as a possible location for station No. 2 for two main reasons:

First, it is already owned by the city and the money from the bond issue approved by voters in 2000 did not include money to purchase new land.

Second, Sayre Park falls within the proper “ISO circles,” Piper said. That means if Station No. 2 is moved there, it would not affect the city’s Insurance Services Office rating, thereby not affecting fire insurance prices for city residents.

The idea of moving the fire station from its current location first came up after city officials discovered that rather than the old station being remodeled, it would have to be demolished and rebuilt because of the positioning and general condition of the building.

Once members of the council heard this, they immediately envisioned the current City Hall site as a downtown parking lot or a future site for a parking structure.

The city retained Doug Porterfield’s DPA Architectural Group to put together a conceptual design and report showing the feasibility of a parking structure at the current site of the Glenwood Springs City Hall at Eighth Street and Cooper Avenue.

The space of the property would have allowed for one double-loaded aisle of parking per floor, for a total of 71 parking spaces, the report said. The estimated cost for the three-story building would be about $2.24 million, or about $31,500 per space.

An alternative five-story design was also proposed. This design would require a special review approval because of its height, but would provide 123 spaces. The alternative parking structure is estimated to cost about $3.7 million, or about $30,000 per space, the report said.

Because of the high cost per space, it was generally agreed upon by council that a parking structure would not be feasible on that site. A surface parking lot, however, would still work.

Once City Hall is moved and station No. 2 is knocked down, Piper said, he would like to have a new station built within a reasonable time frame.

“We’d need to get going probably within a year and a half,” city manager Mike Copp said.

If the park location is chosen, the station would be built on a 100-by-100-foot piece of land at the corner of Grand Avenue and Hyland Park Drive, just west of the tennis courts.

“We’d only lose one tree,” Piper said.

Each member of the council agreed that such a move would require a substantial amount of political will to actually go through with it.

“I agree with everyone, but the gist of it is we never show political will on anything,” Councilman Rick Davis said. “But if the parkland will work, I’d say we should support it 100 percent.”

The city’s legal position is not yet known, and all agreed that the park’s deed could prohibit such a use, so city staffers planned to look into whether a fire station would be allowed.

Councilman Larry Emery said he’ll bring the idea of a Sayre Park fire station up at the next Parks and Recreation meeting to see what kind of reaction is generated.


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