Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"Funky" Station Opens
Mayor Houlihan called the new station a win-win for the community and said it would help fire responsiveness. She made an effort to point out that the station fit in with the community.
According to the fire department, not building the other two fire stations in the next few years will not affect the city's responsiveness.
Here are the city's justifications for building the new stations (and borrowing millions): inadequate access for disabled persons, age of the facilities, lack of sufficient indoor parking for fire equipment, lack of adequate cleaning and decontamination facilities, poor energy efficiency, concern for the buildings' ability to withstand a significant earthquake, and lack of facilities for mixed gender employees.
It was clear to me that the new fire station provided a high level of functionality.
Luxurious is not how I would describe the station, at least the lower level. It was utilitarian.
There was a lot of consternation over the fire stations. Some people might not understand some of the reasons for that. Years ago, both Christy Guiren and Maggie made statements that excited some members of the community. Christy was saying things like, we have all this money and we should do something with it. Some local fellows thought she sounded like she was about to go on a municipal sized spending spree. Maggie said several times that she wanted the community to have cool looking fire stations, and it sounded like that was her main motivator.
After the city decided they had to rush these stations so much that we had to borrow millions, it seems funny to me that the city doesn't appear to be moving very fast on the other stations.
Next time it would be great for the city to better develop and explain the financial justification (for rushed timing), financing scheme, and construction costs. They should also welcome questions and skepticism, instead of dismissing or targeted concerned citizens. Keeping these facts in mind, I can understand why people have been skeptical: The city was planning on spending $13.5 million to rebuild stations 1, 2, and 3. Station 5 was built for $1.5 million, in 2001.